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BSE Sensex opens firm at 13,343.57, up by 35 pts

Written by: Staff

Mumbai, Mar 23: The BSE Sensex today resumed positive at 13,343.57 with a modest gain by 35 points from it last close of 13,308.03 on some fresh speculative buying support from FIIs and mutual funds.

The BSE Sensex was highly volatile in the first few minutes of the opening session, in see-saw trade. It had opened slightly higher, at 13,343.57, but immediately began declining sharply on intense selling pressure. It recorded a low of 13196.90, as selling continued. But from here it again started recovery, as buying resumed at the lower levels.

Later, the BSE Sensex was down 80.32 points, at 13,227.10. The market was weak initially due to varied cues coming from the Asian markets.

Meanwhile, the S&P CNX Nifty index of NSE resumed flat at 3876.75. Later it recorded a high at 3891.50 and a low at 3850.90 during the mid-morning session. The current index is quoted high at 3885.45 against 3875.90 on the previous day's close.

Cigarette maker ITC was the top loser, down by 2.68 per cent to Rs 145.30, on a volume of 2.12 lakh shares.

HDFC Bank (down 2.17 per cent), ICICI Bank (down 1.70 per cent) and Satyam Computers (down 1.10 per cent) were the other losers.

Cement stocks bounced back. ACC was the top gainer, up 2.60 per cent to Rs 772.70, on a volume of 1.04 lakh shares.

Grasim (up 1.88 per cent), Gujarat Ambuja Cements (up 1.95 per cent) and Bharti Airtel (up 1.13 per cent) were the other gainers.

Index heavyweight RIL was down by 0.38 per cent to Rs 1368, on a volume of 53,810 shares.

Indiabulls Real Estate was trading at Rs 366.70 on BSE in early trade. The stock had hit a low of Rs 359 and also a high of Rs414.80. Exchanges have set Rs 407 as base price for the scrip with a 20 per cent price band. A huge 11.1 lakh shares changed hands in the counter on BSE.

Indiabulls Real Estate (IBREL) was formed following demerger of the real estate business of Indiabulls Financial Services (IBFSL).The company was listed on the bourses today. The total equity capital of IBREL is Rs 35.93 cr, consisting of 17.96 crore shares of Rs 2 each.

Japanese stocks were little changed in the morning today, as investors consolidated gains after shares ended at a three-week high in the previous session, although export-related shares such as Sony Corp advanced as the yen continued its recent weakening trend against the dollar.

Japan's Nikkei advanced 0.20 per cent or 34.33 points 17,453.53, Taiwan's Taiwan Weighted rose 0.37 per cent or 28.86 points at 7,852.53. However, Hong Kong's Heng Seng was down 0.16 per cent or 30.76 points at 19, 659.49, Singapore's Straits Times had plunged 0.21 per cent or 6.85 points to 3,212.66 and South Korea's Seoul Composite had declined 0.17 per cent or 2.52 points, to 1,446.01.

However, volatility may remain ahead of next week's expiry of March 2007 derivative contracts. Rollover from the March 2007 contracts to the April 2007 contracts has already started. With the market scheduled to remain closed next March 27 for a public holiday, only four trading sessions are left before the expiry of the March 2007 contracts.

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As per provisional data, FIIs were net buyers to the tune of a massive Rs 712.70 crore on March 22, the day when the Sensex had surged 362 points in a global rally triggered by expectations of a cut in interest rates by the US Federal Reserve. FIIs were net buyers to the tune of Rs 1848 crore in index-based futures on Thursday. They were net buyers to the tune of Rs 134 crore of individual stock futures on that day.

The US Federal Reserve policy-setting meeting on Wednesday dropped an explicit reference to possibility of taking rates higher in its statement, sparking talk abut the next move of a cut. But a day later, investors soon started to consider the US central may not be in a hurry to cut rates and that the dollar may be oversold, as the Fed also reiterated that inflation was still its main concern.

Fed left interest rates unchanged at 5.25 per cent on wednesday.

Rate hikes in the United States tend to drain cash from emerging markets, but rate-cuts tend to hike dollar flows into developing economies such as India.

Domestic bourses are set to record its first weekly gain today after five consecutive weekly losses till 16 March 2007. The next major trigger for the domestic bourses is Q4 March 2007 earnings, reports of which by corporates will start next month. Analysts expect Q4 results to be strong. Market men will closely watch what company managements have to say about the outlook for FY 2008.

US stock indices ended Thursday's session little changed after a profit warning from Motorola knocked tech shares lower, stalling a global equities rally sparked by the Federal Reserve's signal that it was less inclined to raise interest rates. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 13.62 points to end at 12,461.14. But the Standard&Poor's 500 Index dipped 0.50 of a point to finish at 1,434.54. The Nasdaq composite index slipped 4.18 points to 2,451.74.

US oil continued to climb, after surging on Thursday when a fall in gasoline stocks fuelled concerns of tight supplies ahead of the driving season in the world's top consumer. NYMEX crude for May delivery rose 21 cents to .90 a barrel, brokers added.


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