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October 15, 1999


Sinha's internal debt statement, Greenspan's suspicion about Wall St, profit-booking shave 190 points off Sensex; Nifty at 1466; rupee at 43.42 Vs $

The Stock Exchange, Bombay The Bombay Stock Exchange opened on a firm note on Friday morning but retreated soon after on profit-booking at high levels.

Share prices crashed following unwinding of huge long-term positions by operators, resulting into a major fall of 191 points in the BSE Sensex.

There was across-the-board decline and even heavyweights hit the downward circuit-filters on sustained selling pressure, dealers said.

The brokers had huge long-term positions. Today was the last day of weekly settlement at the BSE. Tuesday is a holiday for the stock markets. These twin factors forced them to square up their positions, dealers said.

Besides, prospect of political instability in the subcontinent due to unrest in Pakistan, and Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha's reported concern over internal debt hammered down the sentiment.

Reflecting the downtrend, the 30-share BSE Sensex opened at 5090.19 points, and inched up to what was to be the day's high of 5095.26 points. Soon, the offloading began, and the index dived to the 4,900 mark and touched the day's low of 4866.85. It closed at 4884.04 points, showing a net loss of 191.37 points or 3.77 per cent from the previous close of 5075.39 points.

The broad-based BSE-100 index also moved down by 82.13 points to 2302.04 points as against the previous close of 2384.17 points.

Pivotals were reported weak. Except Gujarat Ambuja and L&T, all the other major shares declined. Profit-booking was heavy in pharma and software sectors. Infosys, Sonata, Fujitsu and VMC Software hit the lower limit of the circuit-breaker.

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At the National Stock Exchange, the S&P CNX Nifty closed at 1450, down 55 points or 3.65 per cent over Thursday's close of 1505.

At the inter-bank foreign exchange market, the Indian rupee was steadt at 43.42 to a US dollar, same as Thursday's close of 43.43.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India had apparently instructed the BSE and other exchanges to reduce their net long position. This was adhered to by the BSE which has asked its members to reduce their individual net long positions.

Greenspan's bubble talk dampens Asia markets

Regan Morris in Singapore adds:

Asian stock markets fell on Friday after US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan signalled he was worried about a potential bubble in Wall Street stock prices.

Tokyo's Nikkei average N225 closed down one per cent at 17,601.57 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed down 1.5 per cent at 12,299.08. Singapore and Malaysia fell two per cent.

The dollar slipped sharply from a high of 107.63 Japanese yen after Greenspan advised banks to set aside more money as insurance against a big financial market downturn. By 1043 GMT it was below the 106 level at 105.53/63 yen.

Markets were already cautious ahead of key US inflation data due later on Friday.

''Greenspan's comments arrived at a bad time...just when we were cautious about the Dow's weak rebound overnight,'' said Kunihiro Hatae, manager at Tokyo Securities Company Limited.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.5 per cent at 10,286.61 in a volatile session as investors wrestled with good corporate earnings and the bad news of a jump in long-term interest rates to a new two-year high.

Oil prices extended New York losses as investors continued to take profits after the price surge earlier this week. At 1043 GMT oil was down 29 cents per barrel at 22.16. Brent was down 26 cents at 21.63.

South Korea's main index shed early gains to close down 0.4 per cent. Taiwan's main index closed down 0.8 per cent at 7,819.09, as investors cashed in after four straight days of gains.

Australia's benchmark All Ordinaries Index closed down 1.3 per cent at 2,862.3. The New Zealand share market ended down one per cent at 2,106.12.

Asian spot gold rose to $ 316.50/317.50 per ounce by 1044 GMT after opening at $ 313.50/315.00. It closed at $ 312.50/314.50 in New York on Thursday.

''The gold price is well supported at 300. There are a lot of shorts that are not fully covered. I think we will see prices go up again,'' a trader said.

Singapore, Malaysia spooked

Greenspan's comments spooked Singapore investors and the Straits Times Index closed down 2.4 per cent to 2,061.25 -- well below its crucial 2,080 support level.

Malaysia's benchmark stock index closed down 2.3 per cent at 721.18.

Thailand's composite set index ended down 1.9 per cent at 385.40.

The Philippine 33-share composite index lost 1.6 per cent to end at 2,014.63 points, dragged down by heavyweight Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company .

Jakarta stocks closed flat at 567.918 as traders stayed away from the market amid renewed civil unrest.

Pakistan stocks were down five per cent at 1,105.01 in their afternoon session after the morning session was suspended following sharp selling on Wednesday after the military coup.



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