labels: investment - general, sebi
Sebi probe into tech, media stocksnews
Pradeep Rane
21 November 2001

Mumbai: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has initiated a probe into the recent spurt in prices of some technology counters including Himachal Futuristic (HFCL), Global Telesystems and Infosys Technologies.

It is also looking into the price fluctuations in some B group scrips, mostly media stocks. The prices of these shares moved substantially in the last couple of weeks and also recorded huge volumes.

For instance, HFCL had gained over 200 per cent in the last two months, while Infosys Technologies shares also moved up by 60 per cent. While Infosys is currently ruling at Rs 3,500 levels, HFCL is hovering at Rs 90.

Global Tele-Systems rose by 125 per cent in the last one month and is ruling at Rs 110 levels. Rumours are galore in the market that former bull operator Ketan Parekh is back in action and he is jacking up the prices of some tech and media scrips.

Sebi has asked trading details from both the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of these scrips in order to ascertain whether there is any manipulation on these counters. The markets regulator is already investigating these scrips, as it realised the prices of these scrips were manipulated by Parekh during last years tech-boom.

Sources also said there have been rumours that operators are back in action on these counters. The Sebi scrutiny may have been ordered to check the veracity of this gossip, they said. In fact, a number of B2 group scrips are also being scrutinised by the markets regulator, as some of them have been touching the upper end of their circuit filters ever since the markets have been on the recovery path.

These are mostly media counters, where the operators are quite active, the sources said. There are also talks that the exchanges are considering the option to bring some of the more volatile scrips under the trade-to-trade settlement.

HFCL, which had struck a 52-week low of Rs 24.90 in mid-September this year, closed at Rs 82.75 last week. On 20 November the scrip touched an intra-day high of Rs 93.25, before closing 8 per cent higher at Rs 89.65.

Heavy bear hammering of these tech stocks first came under the Sebi glare during the market crisis in March this year. Infosys had been hitting the 10-per cent upper filter on several days in the last couple of weeks. However, reports from the company stating that it expected to meet third-quarter profit projections could have helped propel the upward journey of the scrip.


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Sebi probe into tech, media stocks