Lokeshwarri S.K.

Chennai, Dec 4

Equity markets started the week in tentative fashion. Though there was no great sell-off, the Sensex struggled to rise above the 13,900 level.

It moved sideways in a 50-point band before ending with a marginal gain of 29.55 points. The Nifty, too, meandered sideways before ending the day above the 4,000 mark at 4,001.

The NSE recorded a turnover of Rs 8,855 crore in the cash segment. Turnover in the derivatives segment was more subdued at Rs 24,341 crore.

This is way below the average turnover of Rs 35,000 crore recorded last week.

The market breadth was positive. The BSE Midcap Index recorded a gain of 0.76 per cent while the BSE Smallcap Index gained 0.86 per cent.

High crude oil price was one of the dampeners on Monday. Possibility of yet another cut in crude output by OPEC, the second in two months, saw oil prices trading above $63.

The cold weather in the US too is expected to boost the demand for crude.

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Capital goods stocks were once more in the limelight.

L&T

ended the day higher by 3.13 per cent while

BHEL

perked up to close 2.63 per cent higher.

Sugar stocks saw hefty gains.

Dhampur Sugar

gained 11 per cent,

Shakti Sugars

12 per cent and

Balrampur Chini

and

Upper Ganges Sugar

nine per cent each.

Cement stocks recorded robust gains on the back of modest cement despatch numbers for November.

ACC

closed the day higher by 3.56 per cent. It recorded cement dispatches of 1.52 million tonnes in November against 1.48 million tonnes in October.

Grasim

and

GACL

too closed the day higher, by 0.90 per cent and 0.77 per cent respectively.

Tata Motors

gained 4.31 per cent. This rise can be attributed to the announcement by the company that it is hopeful that the West Bengal Government will allot land for a new factory. The allocation of 700 acres of land in Singur to the company has been delayed by seven months due to protests by farmers who own the land. A 43 per cent increase in vehicle sales in November, year on year, also boosted the sentiment in this stock.

Sterlite Industries

gained 5.58 per cent on the BSE. The company has announced the full commissioning of the 245,000 tpa aluminium smelter at Korba. The Tuticorin copper smelter capacity has also been increased to 400,000 tpa.

Crane Software

has announced the launch of the latest version of its Enterprise offering InventX SP2M 4.0 (Strategic Project Portfolio Management) at the PMI Global Congress in Seattle, Washington and the PDMA International Conference held in Atlanta, US. The stock closed one per cent lower.

IT and banking stocks saw some profit booking. The CNX IT Index lost 0.27 per cent while the Bank Nifty lost 0.58 per cent.

Stocks that figured in the top gainers list include

IDBI, Nicholas Piramal, Torrent Pharma, Titan, Ingersoll Rand, Arvind Mills, Flex Industries

and

Heritage Foods

.

Stocks that were among the top losers included

Pidilite Industries, Geometric Software, Bhartiya International, SPL Ltd

and

Torrent Gujarat

.

Stocks that hit a new high included giants such as

ABB, BHEL, Aditya Birla Nuvo, SBI

and

Mahindra and Mahindra

, going to show that the demand for high-quality stocks will continue to push the prices of these stocks higher in spite of premium valuations.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 5, 2006)
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