The market advanced further in the special trading session on Saturday, led by gains in tech stocks, on the back of a rally in the US markets on Friday.
Recording its fourth straight gain, the 30-share BSE Sensitive Index (Sensex) settled 19.58 points higher at 3,218.73.
The NSE S & P CNX Nifty Index rose by 6.60 points to close at 1,037.15.
The special session had no connection with the ongoing US-Iraq war. While the NSE was open to test a back-up for its trading system, the BSE decided to conduct trading to provide an equal opportunity to its members.
The sentiment remained cautiously optimistic on the premise that a quick and successful war could herald the end of a protracted period of economic and financial uncertainty. The general belief is that an uncomplicated military campaign will unseat Iraqi President Saddam Hussein within weeks, entail minimum civilian and military casualties, and retain a framework for global political stability.
While the operators as well as institutional investors took fresh positions on the hope that the war will be a short one, overall volumes remained low on poor investor participation.
Meanwhile, there were reports of massive bombing operations over key Iraqi cities. Reports that the US military was meeting little resistance in its march toward Baghdad, and in its effort to secure Iraqi airfields and oil fields added to the bullish sentiment.
The Sensex opened higher with a gap of 8.43 points at 3,208.58. It touched the day's high of 3,225.26 in early trades and later moved in the 3,210-3,220 range for the rest of the session. Finally, the Sensex settled at 3,218.73, up 18.58 points, or 0.58%, over its previous close.
The Sensex has now gained 133.83 points in the last three sessions. Earlier, it lost 198.75 points, or 6.05%, from 28 February 2003, when the Union Budget for 2003-04 was presented to Parliament. In the current calendar year, the Sensex is still 158.55 points in the red.
Turnover on the BSE slipped to Rs 455 crore (Rs 1,195.79 crore on 21 March 2003). Of the 1,342 issues traded on the exchange, advances outnumbered declines, with 745 gainers and 473 losers. 124 issues ended unchanged.
Satyam Computer (up 2.68% to Rs 210.95) gained further ground on buying support. From a recent low of Rs 188.75 touched on 17 March 2003, the stock has recovered by 11.76%. Over 33.45 lakh Satyam Computer shares were traded on the BSE.
Other tech pivotals like HCL Technologies (up 2.10% to Rs 165.55) and Infosys Technologies (up 1.05% to Rs 4,450.80) also advanced on sustained buying support.
Earlier, US stocks soared on Friday as the country's armed forces staged a massive offensive against Iraq and Wall Street laid bets that the war will be over soon. The Dow Jones industrial average (up 235.37 points to 8521.97) rose by more than 2.8% and the Nasdaq composite index (up 19.07 points to 1421.84) added 1.3%. The Dow rose for the eighth consecutive session, its best performance since November 1996.
Media major Zee Telefilms (up 1.09% to Rs 74.35) ended with a marginal gain, with over 5.60 lakh shares traded on the BSE.
Gains on the Zee Telefilms counter were attributed to the fast approaching end of the Cricket World Cup, which has hit the company's revenues in the current quarter. Analysts expect Zee Telefilms to turn out a dismal performance in the current quarter ending 31 March 2003. A rival channel is telecasting the World Cup matches and the shift in viewership is proving expensive for Zee. The matches, which commenced on 10 February, will end on 23 March 2003.
Meanwhile, Delgrada, an overseas corporate body owned by Zee's promoters, has pledged an additional 3.1 crore shares of the company held by it in favour of Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB), Singapore. The total value of the pledged shares works out to Rs 233 crore. A 12.12% equity stake, or 5 crore shares of Zee Telefilms, are now pledged with CSFB. The shares have been pledged as security towards repayment of money owed to CSFB by Delgrada.
Heavyweights like ITC (up 0.77% to Rs 620.25), Reliance Industries (up 0.51% to Rs 294.55), Hindustan Lever (up 0.40% to Rs 163) and State Bank of India (up 0.25% to Rs 285.15) also contributed to the gains in the Sensex.
Tisco (up 2.13% to Rs 143.90) gained further ground on sustained buying support after the US decided to restrict exports to China. This development will benefit the Indian steel industry, which accounts for almost 15-17% of China's imports. From a recent high of Rs 132.35 touched on 17 March 2003, the stock has gained 8.72%. Over 5.23 lakh Tisco shares were traded on the BSE.
Other Old Economy pivotals like ICICI Bank (up 1.40% to Rs 141), Telco (up 1.37% to Rs 162.90), Hindalco (up 0.97% to Rs 563.40) and Bajaj Auto (up 0.77% to Rs 505) also rose on selective buying support.
Pharma pivotals like Dr Reddy's Laboratories (up 1.18% to Rs 911.25), Ranbaxy (up 0.78% to Rs 619.05) and Cipla (up 0.01% to Rs 739.60) also posted gains.
HDFC (down 1.23% to Rs 349.35) slipped further on sustained selling pressure. Only 2,344 HDFC shares were traded on the BSE.
Other pivotals like GlaxoSmithKline Pharma (down 0.74% to Rs 295.10), Nestle India (down 0.39% to Rs 526), Grasim (down 0.65% to Rs 337.25) and Hero Honda Motor (down 0.46% to Rs 225.20) also declined on selling pressure.
The BSE IT Sector Index gained 31.20 points, or 2.15%, to end at 1,481.64.
Hinduja TMT (up 5.67% to Rs 182.70) gained further ground on sustained buying support after a recent fall from the higher levels. From a recent low of Rs 157.35 touched on 20 March 2003, the stock has gained 16.11%. Over 7.17 lakh Hinduja TMT shares were traded on the BSE.
Geodesic (up 4.99% to Rs 93.65) was frozen at 5% upper limit of the circuit breaker. From a recent low of Rs 79.25 touched on 19 March 2003, the stock has risen by 18.17% on bargain hunting. Over 3,700 Geodesic shares were traded on the BSE.
Other second-line tech stocks like Ramco Systems (up 4.37% to Rs 541.30), Sonata Software (up 4.01% to Rs 14.25), Infotech Enterprises (up 3.17% to Rs 133.50), Hexaware (up 3.87% to Rs 120.75), VisualSoft (up 2.54% to Rs 171.30) and e-Serve (up 2.16% to Rs 475.05) rose on selective buying support.
i-flex Solutions (up 3.39% to Rs 947.20) gained further ground to touch its new high of Rs 965 in intra-day trades on sustained buying support. From a recent low of Rs 809 touched on 17 March 2003, the stock has risen by 17%. Over 2.17 lakh i-flex shares were traded on the BSE.
Analysts said the surge in the i-flex stock was on bargain hunting following the sustained order flow to the company and on hopes that the ongoing US-Iraq war may end soon.
On 20 March 2003, i-flex announced that IC Bank Rt. Budapest, Hungary has selected its flagship product Flexcube' to streamline operations in the areas of bills and collections, loans and deposits, foreign exchange and funds transfer among others. With the implementation of Flexcube, IC Bank will be able to provide faster services to clients from any branch through a single banking platform.
Of late, i-flex has been in the limelight following the huge success of its key banking product Flexcube, which has been instrumental in pushing up the company's fortunes. The product has already been rolled out in more than 30 countries.
Other non-Sensex frontline tech stocks like Mascot Systems (up 5.02% to Rs 115.10), Polaris Software (up 4.38% to Rs 139.50), Wipro (up 3.09% to Rs 1417.65), NIIT (up 2.25% to Rs 118.20) and Digital GlobalSoft (up 1.62% to Rs 661.90) also recorded gains.
Banking sector stocks like Dena Bank (up 4.18% to Rs 12.45), Federal Bank (up 3.56% to Rs 95.90), IDBI Bank (up 3.49% to Rs 22.25), Bank of Baroda (up 2.44% to Rs 85.90), Corporation Bank (up 1.29% to Rs 137.30), Karur Vysya Bank (up 1.62% to Rs 172.90) and Canara Bank (up 1.33% to Rs 68.55) rose further on sustained buying support.
Vysya Bank (down 2.69% to Rs 253), HDFC Bank (down 1.04% to Rs 238.10), Oriental Bank of Commerce (down 0.90% to Rs 60.85) and South Indian Bank (down 0.41% to Rs 36.85) also ended lower on selling pressure.
Goldstone Technologies (Rs 31.75) was frozen at 10% upper limit of the circuit breaker for the second straight session, after the company announced that it has bagged a major outsourcing deal for providing offshore-based technical support services to a leading US-based software vendor in the business intelligence space.
Other telecom-related stocks like FCI OEN Connectors (up 6.76% to Rs 75), Shyam Telecom (up 7.24% to Rs 34.80), HFCL (up 1.76% to Rs 17.35), GTL (up 1.70% to Rs 68.90), VSNL (up 1.51% to Rs 80.75) and Tata Telecom (up 1.90% to Rs 104.70) also posted gains.
Aksh Optifibre (down 1.47% to Rs 16.75), Birla Ericsson (down 0.97% to Rs 10.20), Bharti Tele-Ventures (down 0.87% to Rs 28.47) and Punjab Communication (down 0.64% to Rs 46.55) slipped on selling pressure.
Media stocks like TV 18 India (up 4.17% to Rs 59.90), Balaji Telefilms (up 3.57% to Rs 63.75), Tata Infomedia (up 3.41% to Rs 71.35), Padmalaya Telefilms (up 6.53% to Rs 66.85) and Sri Adhikari Brothers (up 2% to Rs 56) rose on good buying support as the Cricket World Cup is about to end. Most of these stocks had slipped in recent sessions amid fears of lower advertising revenues during the Cricket World Cup.
ETC Networks (down 2.68% to Rs 38.10), K Sera Sera (down 1.49% to Rs 43), Saregama India (down 0.20% to Rs 49.15) ended lower on selling pressure.
The BSE Healthcare Index rose by 4.82 points, or 0.40%, to end at 1,213.19.
Divi's Laboratories (up 3.79% to Rs 192.95) surged to touch a new high of Rs 194.60 on sustained buying support. Over 1 lakh Divi's Laboratories (DLL) shares were traded on the BSE.
The DLL stock made its debut on the BSE last Wednesday. The company came out with an initial public offer of 32,04,684 equity shares of Rs 10 each. Of this 12,69,673 shares involved a fresh issue and 19,35,011 equity shares were offered to the public by existing shareholders. The entire issue was made through the 100% book-building route for efficient price discovery. The company had fixed a floor price of Rs 130 per share.
Other pharma stocks like FDC (up 6.77% to Rs 28.40), Fulford (up 7.03 to Rs 70.75), Abbott India (up 2.04% to Rs 300), Unichem (up 1.49% to Rs 149.90) and Aventis Pharma (up 0.69% to Rs 255) also advanced amid thin volumes.
Morepen (down 2.86% to Rs 17), Suven Pharma (down 1.79% to Rs 107.05), Matrix Laboratories (down 1.87% to Rs 274.85), Sun Pharma (down 1.29% to Rs 272), Wyeth Lederle (down 1.13% to Rs 196.75), German Remedies (down 0.48% to Rs 206) and Ind Swift (down 0.42% to Rs 47.75) slipped on selling pressure.
The BSE FMCG Index gained 3.16 points, or 0.42%, to end at 755.77.
United Breweries (UB) (up 9.32% to Rs 79.80) firmed up on renewed buying support after a recent fall from the higher levels. Only 574 UB shares were traded on the BSE.
Other fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) stocks like Gillette India (up 1.40% to Rs 279.10), Bata India (up 1.07% to Rs 28.40), Marico Industries (up 0.83% to Rs 163.50) and P & G Hygiene (up 0.81% to Rs 393) also gained ground on selective buying support.
Godrej Consumer Products (down 1.33% to Rs 104.10), GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (down 1.02% to Rs 223) and Tata Tea (down 0.59% to Rs 177.65) slipped on selling pressure.
The BSE PSU stocks shed 1.53 points, or 0.10%, to end at 1,607.20.
Steel Authority of India (Sail) (up 2.58% to Rs 9.95) rose on renewed buying support after the company on Friday announced a one-lakh tonne shipment for the third month in a row, starting December 2002. The company has exported 7.45 lakh tonnes of steel in the current fiscal year so far, recording a growth of 48% over the corresponding period last year. Over 6.73 lakh Sail shares were traded on the BSE.
Other PSU stocks like FACT (up 4.72% to Rs 25.50), National Fertilizers (up 1.61% to Rs 31.50), Engineers India (up 1.06% to Rs 252.50), IBP (up 1.02% to Rs 202.90) and Bharat Electronics (up 0.60% to Rs 193.65) also recorded gains.
Container Corporation (down 0.91% to Rs 218), Neyveli Lignite Corporation (down 0.74% to Rs 26.90), ONGC (down 0.71% to Rs 355.15), Nalco (down 0.38% to Rs 79.65), Gas Authority of India (down 0.27% to Rs 74.90), Bharat Earth Movers (down 0.23% to Rs 63.70) and Dredging Corporation (down 0.22% to Rs 227) and BPCL (down 0.18% to Rs 224.40) slipped on selling pressure.
Yokogawa Blue Star (up 17.75% to Rs 52.40) remained firm on sustained buying support after its Indian co-promoter (Blue Star) said that it plans to consider a proposal for sale of shares held by it in the company to Yokogawa Electric Corporation, Japan. Yokogawa holds a 40% equity stake in this joint venture, while Blue Star's holding is at 28.65%. Close to 23,000 Yokogawa Blue Star shares were traded on the BSE.
Electrolux Kelvinator (Rs 7.25) was frozen at 20% upper limit of the circuit breaker on reports that the company's MNC parent, AB Electrolux, has decided to de-list the equity shares of its Indian subsidiary from the bourses by making an open offer to the shareholders. It plans to acquire 100% stake in Electrolux Kelvinator.
As on 31 December 2002, promoters held 85.96% stake in Electrolux Kelvinator, while the public and institutions held 11.04% and 0.61% respectively.
Steel and steel-related stocks like Maharashtra Seamless (up 6.56% to Rs 147.85), Essar Steel (up 3.92% to Rs 7.95), Jindal Steel (up 3.13% to Rs 357.45), Saw Pipes (up 1.54% to Rs 69.05), Jindal Strips (up 1.37% to Rs 148.35), Bhushan Steel (up 1.35% to Rs 30) and Jindal Iron (up 0.18% to Rs 83.65) advanced further on sustained buying support following hopes of a further rise in global steel prices due to the decision by the US to restrict its exports to China.
Source: Capital Market