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    Sensex touches a new peak of 13,616.77

    By Super
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    Mumbai, Nov 21: The Sensex today spurted to a new peak of 13,616.77 points on the Bombay Stock Exchange with a massive gain of 186.06 points from its previous close of 13,430.71 on sustained heavy speculative demand from Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) and domestic investors.

    The market firmed up further in late trading. The Sensex darted past 13,600, and the Nifty index of National Stock Exchange (NSE) struck a new high above 3,900 and finished at a record peak of 3,918.25 points with a handsome gain of 62.10 points from its last close of 3856.15 points.

    Tech, telecom, banking, cement, construction auto and FMCG stocks were in demand, in what turned out to be a broad-based rally.

    The market-sentiment was bright following the strong debut of Internet firm Info Edge (India), and due to a steady-to-firm trend in Asian stocks.

    The Sensex's provisional closing was 13,616.77, a gain of 186.06 points for the day before it opened high at 13,434.58 points. It had hit a high of 13,630.41 and low of 13,434.58 points.

    S&P CNX Nifty index of NSE reached a new high above 3,900 and was quoted at 3,921.70 points. Meanwhile, it had a low of 3856.75 points in intra-day session before it resumed high at 3,859.50 points.

    The market held firm throughout the day. There was a takeoff in the key indices in the second half of the trading session.

    The BSE clocked a turnover of Rs 4,041 crore.

    The market sentiment was boosted after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday that India and China will work to raise their bilateral trade to USD 40 billion by 2010. He said this after talks with visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao. Bilateral trade has climbed from USD 260 million in 1990 to a projected USD 20 billion in 2006/07.

    On Monday, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath had said New Delhi was seeking comprehensive economic cooperation with China but a free-trade agreement with Beijing was not on the cards, brokers said.

    Bharti Airtel rose nearly three per cent to Rs 622.35. The stock hit a new high of Rs 625.70. Rival Reliance Communications rose 1.8 per cent to Rs 416.70. The stock also attained a new high of Rs 418. Both cellular services providers turned bullish amid reports that the Department of Telecom (DoT) will make available additional radio frequency for telecommunication service providers.

    IT pivotals were in demand for the second day in a row, following reports that top Indian IT firms were chasing over a dozen deals on an average, the size of which range between USD 50 to USD 100 million. Satyam Computer gained 3.2 per cent to Rs 455, HCL Tech rose three per cent to Rs 647, TCS was up by 2.8 per cent to Rs 1,148 and Wipro added 2.6 per cent to Rs 569.

    Infosys edged slightly lower in volatile trade. The scrip shed 0.3 per cent to Rs 2,246. The software giant today priced its sponsored ADR issue at USD 53.30 per ADR, a 3.2 per cent discount to Monday's closing price of USD 55.2.

    Cigarette maker ITC gained 3.3 per cent to Rs 184.35, and Hindustan Lever advanced 2.2 per cent to Rs 248.35.

    Tata Steel gained nearly three per cent to Rs 476.85. Tata Steel has reportedly called an unscheduled board meeting on Thursday, to discuss the fallout of CSN's 475 pence per share counter-bid for Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus. Tata Steel had bid at 455 pence per share for Corus. Tata Steel's board is likely to discuss various options including the possibility of a revised offer for Corus.

    Media reports also indicated that Tata Steel can win the takeover battle if it matched CSN's bid, given that Corus' management approves the Indian firm's bid last month. Tata Steel may, however, be reluctant to get involved in a hostile bid.

    Shares in Info Edge (India), which runs job search and marriage web sites, provisionally closed at Rs 595.90, compared to the IPO price of Rs 320.

    ICICI Bank rose 1.4 per cent to Rs 872, on reports that the largest private sector bank is slated to raise USD 1 billion through an issue of yen-denominated bonds. Other bank shares rose after RBI Deputy Governor Rakesh Mohan said on Tuesday that greater price stability will make it possible to have lower interest rates in the medium term. State Bank of India gained two per cent to Rs 1,233.

    30, Bank of India rose 1.6 per cent to Rs 190, and Bank of Baroda rose one per cent to Rs 258.20.

    Auto shares gained in trying to keep themselves abreast of the market. Car major Maruti Udyog rose 1.7 per cent to Rs 885.25, Tata Motors gained two per cent to Rs 819, Ashok Leyland rose three per cent to Rs 43.45 and Bajaj Auto gained 0.4 per cent to Rs 2,576.

    Auto shares had underperformed in the recent market surge, brokers said.

    UNI

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