Indices lose ground

Markets opened in positive territory but slipped into the red very soon on lack of buying interest. After remaining sideways, the indices bounced back into the green in the early afternoon on the back of good buying in technology stocks. News of a mild earthquake in Mumbai saw the market slipping down again. Sensex closed at 6810, down 44 points and the Nifty at 2146, down 8 points. The Nifty futures discount to the spot index widened to 9 points.

On Friday, US markets gave up early gains on higher trade deficit numbers and worries over inflation from rising crude prices. Light sweet crude bounced back strongly to test all time highs of above $56 before closing around $55 to a barrel. The Dow lost more than half a per cent while NASDAQ slipped just under a per cent. Indian ADR's had a bad day with most of them ending in the red. Infosys, Wipro and Dr Reddy's all lost more than 2 per cent each. Banking majors HDFC and ICICI bucked the trend and managed to close with gains.

The big event for the day was of course the listing of Jet Airways on the bourses. The stock, issued at Rs1,100, debuted at lower than expected levels and slid in morning trades to around Rs1,170. The morning weakness was quickly forgotten in a very strong build up in the futures segment and the stock shot up during mid-afternoon trades to Rs1,340. The stock closed at Rs1,304 on the NSE.

Short term traders are betting on fresh demand for Jet Airways stock from institutional investors and are building heavy positions in the futures and options side. Jet was the most active stock in the futures segment today.

The Bharti TeleVentures counter continue to witness huge block deals. After promoter Sunil Mittal sold his personal stake last week, the stock saw a huge deal of more than 11 million shares today. The deal was worth over Rs2,500 crore and more than 6 per cent of the company's equity changed hands.

Private equity firm Warburg Pincus, which was holding around 12 per cent of Bharti, is the seller. Buyers include government of Singapore, Fidelity and Capital International, all deep pocket and long term investors. The stock closed lower as RBI prohibited fresh purchases in the stocks by FII's without its permission.