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BSE: Volatile markets post modest losses

Written by: Staff

Mumbai, Mar 23: The Sensex today ended marginally weak on the Bombay Stock Exchange, slipping by a modest 22.10 points to close at 13,285.93 from its previous close of 13,308.03 points, on cues from southward-bound global markets.

Among the broader markets, the Nifty Index also shed 14.85 points to settle at 3,861.05 from its previous close of 3875.90 points.

Most Asian and European markets were trading with losses. The Nikkei 225 Index was up 0.35 per cent, while the Hang Seng Index was down marginally by 0.01 per cent.

Among US stock indices the Dow Jones industrial average gained 13.62 points, or 0.11 per cent, to end at 12,461.14, but the Standard&Poor's 500 Index dipped 0.50 of a point, or 0.03 per cent, to finish at 1,434.54. The Nasdaq Composite Index also slipped 4.18 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 2,451.74.

''The bulls, having driven the market up sharply over the past four sessions, chose to stay at the sidelines for a better part of the session today. The none too firm global markets and cautious moves ahead of the weekend rendered quite a few large cap stocks extremely weak in today's trading session. A few components of the benchmark indices Sensex and the Nifty did enjoy a bright session thanks to stock specific support.

At one stage this afternoon, the market staged a spectacular rally following some hectic short-covering in the derivatives segments.

But once the rally fizzled out, it was a trip down south for many frontline stocks,'' market analysts noted.

The market settled with modest losses in a session, which was highly volatile throughout. However, bouts of short-covering struck at regular intervals, cushioning the fall to some extent. The Sensex moved 190.05 points in that range.

Rollover from the March 2007 contracts to the Apr 2007 contracts has already started. With the market scheduled to remain closed next Tuesday on account of a public holiday, only four trading sessions are left before the expiry of the March 2007 contracts, brokers said.

The inflation data released today reveals that the wholesale price index rose 6.46 per cent in the 12 months to March 10 2007, matching the previous week's annual increase. The figure was slightly lower than a forecast of 6.51 per cent in a poll of analysts. The annual inflation rate was 3.80 per cent during the corresponding week last year.

The market-breadth was weak, as selling started for small-cap and mid-cap stocks. On BSE, against 1,545 scrips declining, 1,055 advanced. A total of 76 scrips also remained unchanged. There were close to 1.5 losers for every gainer on BSE. The total turnover on BSE amounted to Rs 3551 crore.

Among the 30-Sensex pack, 18 declined while the rest advanced, brokers added.

Cigarette maker ITC was the top loser, down 3.44 per cent to Rs 144, on a volume of 17.77 lakh shares after Maharashtra proposed a hike in tax on cigarettes in its annual Budget. ITC had dipped to a low of Rs 143.60. Tata Motors was down 2.20 per cent to Rs 788. Gujarat Ambuja Cements (down 1.95 per cent to Rs 105.80), TCS (down 1.57 per cent to Rs 1283.45) and ONGC (down 1.50 per cent to Rs 839.50) were the other losers.

Engineering and construction major L&T surged 3.88 per cent to Rs 1634, on a volume of 4.85 lakh shares, and was the top gainer. It had touched a high of Rs 1641.10, in intra-day trade.

Cipla (up 2.66 per cent to Rs 241.20), Bhel (up 2.37 per cent to Rs 2280.25), and Dr Reddy's (up 1.25 per cent to Rs 1588) were the other gainers.

Index heavyweight Reliance Industries (RIL) was up 0.28 per cent to Rs 1378, on a volume of 6.20 lakh shares. It had advanced to a high of Rs 1384, in the late afternoon session of trade.

Ratings agency CRISIL rose by its maximum daily limit of 5 per cent, to Rs 2,490.30, after market regulator, Securities&Exchange Board of India (SEBI), yesterday approved a proposal making IPO grading mandatory.


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