Our Bureau

Mumbai, Feb. 25

PRE-BUDGET jitters rendered the bourses extremely volatile on the last trading session before the `B-Day'. The Sensex opened in the green but could not sustain it as nervous participants made portfolio adjustments before the Budget.

The 30-stock benchmark index closed the day with a net loss of 4.49 points at 6,569.72.

Earlier, it touched an intra-day high of 6,622.62, up by 48.41 points from Thursday's close of 6,574.21. The Nifty, however, ended the trading session on an upbeat note, gaining 5.6 points to close trade at 2,060.90.

Anticipation of a pro-textile industry Budget saw textile stocks on a smart rally today.

The Bombay Dyeing scrip was locked in the upper circuit. It gained Rs 49.50 to close at Rs 297.10.

Arvind Mills gained Rs 7.55 to end trade at Rs 128.60. Raymond Industries and Welspun Industries also posted smart gains.

The market was bearish on steel and cement stocks. This was largely on anticipation of a hike in freight rates in the Railway Budget, to be announced on Saturday.

Most steel and cement counters witnessed profit booking.

The market is edgy pre-Budget. Mr Mitesh Shah of BRJ Securities said: "Markets have run up quite a bit and the Union Budget has been the anticipated trigger for the last several weeks of trading. It is unclear which direction the markets will take post Budget. Investors have been booking profits on stocks they are uncertain about."

Markets are divided over the likely post-Budget trend. While several fund houses believe that the current levels are sustainable and a favourable Budget will buoy the market further, others are concerned about overheating. Both bulls and bears are edgy about this Budget. It is anybody's game this time, said up a broker.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 26, 2005)
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