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Prolonged war scares market players
March 28, 2003 16:55 IST
Uncertainty over what the outcome of war will be over the weekend and how long the war will actually take prompted marketmen to exercise restraint on Friday.
The 30-share BSE Sensex drifted lower after opening on a positive note today. By the end of one half of trading , the Sensex slipped 7.5 points to 3,109.20. The Sensex gained as much as 13.54 points to 3,130.33 in early trades.
Market players are hesitant to take fresh calls today, dealers say. Volumes in the market, therefore, are quite low, the second day running in fact. On Thursday, the BSE clocked a turnover of just Rs 813 crore (Rs 8.13 billion). Normally, the BSE records a daily turnover of around Rs 950-1,100 crore (Rs 9.5-11 billion).
The uncertainty over the duration of the ongoing US-Iraq war has put the stops on investor participation. In fact, markets across the world have lost ground over the last 3-4 trading sessions amid concerns that the war will last longer than expected. On Thursday, news reports in the US suggested that the war could go on for months rather than weeks. War today entered its ninth day since the US launched the war on Iraq in the wee hours of 20 March 2003.
Oil prices that had witnessed a setback at the onset of the war, are once again moving north. Global crude oil prices rose Friday to their highest levels since the start of the war on fears that an extended conflict would exacerbate fuel shortages. US light crude for May delivery was up 39 cents at $30.76 a barrel after rising as high as $30.84.
A spell of spiraling oil prices will hit the already fragile economies of the world further. Escalating oil prices would prove burdensome as oil is a key ingredient in a number of industries and a hike in transportation costs etc would have a cascading effect on various industries, analysts feel.
After the war began on 20 March 2003, the market staged an instant recovery. From 3,084.91 on 17 March 2003, the Sensex surged by 133.82 points, or 4.3%, in four sessions to 3,218.73 on 22 March 2003. However, the market has lost most of those gains in the last few trading sessions amid concerns of a prolonged war.
Select shares firmed up in a lacklustre market on support from local funds in a bid to prop up year-end NAVs.
Shares of banking PSUs like Canara Bank (up 8.6% to Rs 73.65), Punjab National Bank (up 2.7% to Rs 105.75), Corporation Bank (up 3.3% to Rs 139.50) and Bank of Baroda (up 2.3% to Rs 88.70) were among the gainers in banking stocks today. Canara Bank witnessed awesome volumes of 5.35 million shares on BSE so far.
IT stocks that held ground on Friday included Hexaware Technologies (up 1% to Rs 112), Hinduja TMT (up 0.8% to Rs 182.30), Mastek (up 0.8% to Rs 551) KPIT Infosystems (up 0.7% to Rs 159.70), CMC (up 0.3% to Rs 506.50) and Mphasis BFL (up 0.3% to Rs 643). More Hot Pursuits
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