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Saturday, Aug 24, 2002

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Infosys gains ahead of analyst meet; mid-caps make merry

B. Krishnakumar

AFTER a couple of days of listless activity, the stock market sentiment turned buoyant on Friday. Led by software heavyweights Infosys Technologies and Satyam Computer, the BSE Sensex managed to record a 38.48-point rise on Friday. The index ended the day at 3119.18, which was not too far from the day's high of 3120.69.

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Infosys's decision to hold an analyst meet on Tuesday (August 27) and the expectation of the Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment (CCD) meeting shortly acted as positive market triggers. The rise in the Sensex was backed by a sharp spurt in business volumes of Rs 1,680 crore, up from Rs 1,045 crore recorded on Thursday.

The share price of Infosys jumped Rs 170.45 to close at Rs 3,534.2. Trading volumes were quite heavy at 6.38 lakh shares in comparison to 2.84 lakh shares recorded the previous day.

With a 7-per cent rise in price, Nestle India was another major gainer amongst index stocks. The scrip closed at Rs 565.8. Owing to block deals, trading volumes in the counter were unusually heavy at 24.14 lakh shares for the day as opposed to 61,719 shares recorded the previous day. Close to 11 lakh shares were traded at around Rs 570. Market was rife with speculation that the block deals would have been effected by the Swiss parent in a bid to hike its stake in Nestle India.

The likes of Hero Honda, Bajaj Auto and Dr Reddy's Laboratories were prominent amongst the losers from the stocks that constitute the Sensex. The share price of Hero Honda declined by Rs 4.35 to close at Rs 273.55. Bajaj Auto's share price dropped Rs 7.3 to Rs 421.15.

The share price of State-owned aluminium major National Aluminium increased by Rs 3.75 to close at Rs 117.50. The increase in share price has been triggered by reports that the Government had invited bids for a 29.5-per cent stake in the company. Trading volumes swelled to 3.2 lakh shares from 1.13 lakh shares recorded the previous day.

Buoyed by the decision to offer 1:1 bonus and rights offer at Rs 25 per share, the share price of Karnataka Bank shot up by 20 per cent to settle at Rs 128.90. Close to 15,000 shares of the company changed hands during the day.

Along with Infosys, Satyam and Wipro, quite a few mid-cap software stocks such as Mastek, MphasiS BFL and Tata Infotech managed to attract heavy interest during the day. In fact, all the three stocks have registered significant gains during the week.

The share price of MphasiS shot up by Rs 30.45, stretching its weekly gain to Rs.71.1. Trading volumes of 32,281 shares was recorded on Friday as opposed to 8477 shares posted the day before.

IPCL closed on a very weak note for the second day in succession. The share price of the company fell Rs 7.90 to Rs 123.50. Trading volumes increased to 3.06 lakh shares from 2.01 lakh shares.

Reliance Industries' 20-per cent open offer for IPCL had closed on Thursday. Reports of over-subscription to the open offer appear to have caused the decline in IPCL's share price. The stock registered a net decline of 18 per cent during the week.

The week turned to be particularly bad for two-wheeler companies. The share prices of the top three companies - - Bajaj, Hero Honda and TVS Motor - - registered a net week-on-week drop. Hero Honda's share price has declined by 10 per cent during the week while TVS Motor's market capitalisation dropped by 2.3 per cent.

Besides two-wheeler stocks, HDFC was another top loser of the week. From Monday's close of Rs 622.5, the stock dropped Rs 34.05 or 5.5 per cent to close at Rs 588.45 on Friday. Close to 43,000 shares of HDFC were traded on Friday in comparison to about 18,000 shares recorded the previous day.

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