Shanthi Venkataraman

THE festive mood appears to have kept investors going, with the indices gaining for the third consecutive trading session.

The Sensex rose 128.6 points or 1.6 per cent to close above the 8,000-mark once again, at 8,072.7 points. Leading the rally were the index heavyweights Infosys, Larsen & Toubro and ITC. The S&P CNX Nifty appreciated 1.35 per cent to close at 2,419.05.

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The trading session, however, continued to be volatile. After opening on a strong note, the Sensex fell by more than 50 points to the day's low of 7,891. The benchmark index, however, gained ground in the later hours of the session and finished off in the positive territory. During the course of the trading session, it made an intra-day swing of 195 points.

The breadth of the market was positive, with gains outnumbering the declines. The rally was across-the-board with all the key sector indices ending in the black. Action in the mid-cap and small-cap space, however, was relatively subdued. The BSE Midcap gained 0.46 per cent, while the BSE SMLCAP remained more or less flat.

Key index gainers include Dr Reddy's and Grasim, while the stocks of Maruti Udyog and HDFC Bank figured in the loser's list.

Cement and construction stocks, which took a beating in the market downslide over the past couple of weeks, made a comeback on Wednesday. Grasim and Gujarat Ambuja Cements gained close to 5 per cent each. Although mid-caps and small-cap stocks were largely out of action, activity was alive among cement stocks in this space. Mangalam Cement, Shree Cement, Prism Cement and India Cements were among the significant gainers.

Among the construction stocks, Hindustan Construction and Madhucon Projects stole the show soaring nine per cent each. The stocks of Valecha Engineering and Simplex Concrete Pilesalso evinced interest. Market favourites in this sector, such as IVRCL and Gammon India, however, had a rather quiet day, ending on a flat note.

Stocks belonging to the capital goods sector continue to be in the limelight. The stocks of Praj Industries, Bharat Electronics, Bharat Earth Movers and BHEL were prominent winners.

The metals sector witnessed heavy action on Wednesday. The stocks of aluminium companies such as Nalco and Hindalco appreciated after both the companies decided to raise prices. The stocks of Gujarat NRE Coke and Hindustan Zinc gained smartly, while Tata Steel and SAIL remained in favour. Stocks of Jindal group companies, notably Jindal Stainless and Jindal Steel, also witnessed a spurt in prices.

Investors gave a thumbs-up to FMCG companies after many of them turned in a robust performance in the just-concluded quarter. The stocks of HLL and ITC were the obvious beneficiaries of the positive sentiment. The stocks of Nestle, Britannia and Colgate Palmolive also enjoyed investors' fancy.

Stocks of two-wheeler companies Bajaj Auto and TVS Motors enjoyed a good day at the bourses. The companies recorded a growth in vehicle sales in October.

Stocks and news: The stock of Jet Airways got a new lease of life on Wednesday, after IOC and other oil companies cut jet fuel prices by 1.8 per cent for November. The stock had been on the receiving end as rising jet fuel prices threatened to affect profits. It gained seven per cent to close at Rs 1,094.80. Spice Jet, the only other listed airline company, surged by about seven per cent to close at Rs 73.35.

3i Infotech gained Rs 6.65 to close at Rs 123.95 after it announced that it had acquired a US-based software company, FormulaWare, for an undisclosed sum.

Prominent stocks that took the backseat amid all the market action include Crompton Greaves, Bombay Dyeing, Glenmark Pharma and Raymond.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 3, 2005)
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