A crowd waited with bated breath. It was 3.42 p.m. Bollywood star Vivek Oberoi and his father Suresh Oberoi stood with a hammer — ready to strike the trademark ‘gong,’ signalling the start of the Muhurat trades on the occasion of Diwali.

This Muhurat trading session marks the beginning of the new year Samvat 2069. The Sensex closed at 18,618.87, down 51.47 points at the end of the 75-minute special trading session.

The auspicious Tuesday afternoon on Diwali brought a number of brokers with their families to the convention centre of the Bombay Stock Exchange. The countdown ended with a thundering gong and rapturous applause.

Soon after, the Sensex moved up but remained flat, up 37 points. Then it slid into the red and continued to trade down 10-12 points before sliding further.

The Muharat trading mostly saw profit booking this Diwali. It seems that the sentimental value attached to buying during the Muhurat trade is slowly waning, said brokers.

‘Less-than-enthusiastic’

“It’s more of profit-booking. People say that if you make money today, then you will make money the whole year,” said a broker in Gujarati. Brokers said that response to this year’s trading session was “less-than-enthusiastic” with many brokers staying away from the session

“Today’s trading is mostly a token trading. It was dependent on many factors such as global issues and other pending Government policy decisions. For the new year, I feel that the agenda will be reforms. Decisions on foreign direct investment and other policies will drive the markets,” said Praful Shah from Pilot Capital. Traditionally, the Sensex rises during Muhurat trades.

While oil and gas, FMCG and metal stocks were up less than 0.5 per cent, those of the IT, banking and consumer durables sectors were down 0.7, 0.4 and 0.4 per cent, respectively.

Better returns likely

“I am personally optimistic about the coming year. I think the market will give better returns this year than the last. The market may touch an all-time high provided we see the RBI going for rate cuts and the Government continues its action on the policy front.

“Banking, auto, FMCG and pharma sectors would do well. Small and mid-caps will outperform the large caps,” said Motilal Oswal, CMD, Motilal Oswal Financial Services.

Among the Sensex stocks, the top five were Bharti Airtel (up 1.2 per cent), Maruti (up 0.6 per cent), ONGC (up 0.5 per cent), Cipla (up 0.5 per cent) and Tata Steel (0.5 per cent).

The top five laggards were Tata Motors (down 1.2 per cent), Dr Reddys (1.2 per cent), SBI (1.1 per cent), HDFC (1.07 per cent) and Infosys (1.03 per cent).

priya.s@thehindu.co.in

sneha.p@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 13, 2012)
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