Radhika Kamath

THE bulls continued their march in the markets as the Sensex closed the day with a gain of 0.5 per cent, while the Nifty was up 1 per cent.

The markets on Wednesday opened on a weak note but strong buying interest among the frontline and mid-cap stocks helped them gain ground.

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The Sensex opened at 6566.8, reached an intra-day high of 6612.5 - its highest since April 7 - and closed at 6597. The Nifty opened at 2028.5, touched a high of 2047.5 before closing at 2043.8. The bullish sentiment was reflected in the advances to decline ratio of 2.3 on the BSE 30.

Gems and jewellery stocks witnessed a smart rally on expectations of a hike in FDI limit. Su-Raj Diamonds, Shrenuj, Parikh Platinum and SB&T International recorded significant gains.

The bulls were actively present across the counters of IT stocks. Renewed buying in Infosys, Satyam, TCS, Wipro, Geometric Software, HCL Technologies and Ramco Systems kept the markets buoyant.

Renewed buying was also seen among pharma stocks. Ranbaxy was up 3.7 per cent at Rs 1,040.2. Biocon, Sun Pharma, Pfizer, Dr Reddy's, Cipla, Glaxo and Aventis Pharma also recorded handsome gains.

There was hectic activity across the counters of retail stocks as investors continued to fancy them. Shoppers' Stop, Trent and Pantaloon clocked smart gains.

Maruti was up 0.6 per cent after it launched its latest model Swift in the Indian market. Eicher Motors gained 14.4 per cent after it announced the sale of tractors division to TAFE and also an acquisition of a US-based company. The stock closed at Rs 369.9.

Among the FMCG stocks, Shaw Wallace was a major gainer and it rose 9.9 per cent. Radico Khaitan, ITC, Tata Tea, HLL and Colgate ended in positive territory.

Selective buying was seen among the public and private sector banking stocks. Bank of Baroda gained 4 per cent. SBI, Indian Overseas Bank, Union Bank, UTI Bank, Andhra Bank and ICICI Bank surged, while Oriental Bank and HDFC Bank declined.

Metal stocks exhibited weakness in tune with the Japanese counterparts. Tata Steel, Monnet Ispat, Sesa Goa, Bhushan Steel and Strips, Hindalco and Madras Aluminium ended in the red.

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