SOME mid- and small-cap stocks are making attempts to be back on the recovery trail. But the traded quantity is still not giving confirmatory signals for return of confidence.

According to market sources, investors are generally testing the waters. Expectations of better second quarter numbers have been floating around and had fetched some lukewarm to warm response on Wednesday in certain counters.

LKP Merchant Finance is one such stock, which moved up 5 per cent to close at Rs 51.55 and 49,445 shares changed hands on the BSE. Its two-week average traded quantity per day stands at 33,162. Though the expected growth in earning per share is substantial, the stock made a tentative upward move.

McNally Bharat, another such counter, which got corrected from its 52-week peak of Rs 104.70 recorded on September 9 last, also made feeble gains of 1.23 per cent at Rs 73.95 with a total traded volume at little over one lakh shares on the BSE. The market expectation was that it might report a 50 per cent growth in bottomline for the quarter to September 30, 2005.

Noida Medicare closed at Rs 13.80 with a gain of 1.47 per cent and a traded volume of 20,106 shares on the BSE against 9,978 shares of average daily volume in the last fortnight.

According to analysts, considering its asset - a 125-bed hospital near New Delhi - and a low market capitalisation, Noida Medicare appears to be a bargain after a decline of 50.80 per cent in last one moth.

Aegis Logistics, which is expected to report nearly 100 per cent jump in the net profit, finished flat Rs 176.95 with low volume of 9,805 shares on the BSE. Its P/E, at around 10, has not inspired investors' appetite even when another listed company in the same space is fetching P/E of 40.

Jaynata Mallick

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 27, 2005)
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