Indices tumble in last hour selling

Market had a firm opening with the indices retaining the momentum from Friday's strong closing. Disappointing most traders, the market slipped into the red soon after and lost major ground in the last hour of trade. Sensex closed at 6657, down 43 points and the Nifty at 2096, down 13 points. The Nifty futures again slipped into a discount of 7 points to the spot index.

On Friday, oil posted its highest closing ever at $56.73 to a barrel. US markets were mixed with the Dow closing marginally higher while the NASDAQ closed lower after slipping into the lowest levels for the year. Indian tech ADR's had a good day with Infosys, Wipro and Satyam all managing to close with gains. ICICI Bank and Tata Motors were major gainers with gains of more than 2 per cent each.

Infosys was one of the few winners today as foreign brokerage CLSA said it expects the next year guidance for the company to be around 25-30 per cent growth in revenue and 35-40 per cent growth in profits. The stock rallied on this news and closed with gains of close to 2 per cent.

Satyam announced a deal with global tyre major Bridgestone for ERP solutions on SAP platform. ERP services margins are better than those for general IT services and this deal means Satyam is trying to grow out of its low margin businesses. The stock closed with gains of more than a per cent.

Oil marketing stocks saw good demand on news that government is considering a hike in the prices of petrol and diesel. The petroleum ministry confirmed that a cabinet note for the purpose has been circulated. The market is expecting a hike of at least Rs2 to Rs2.50 per litre as against the Rs4 per litre demanded by the oil marketing companies.

There was a lot of positive news flow from ONGC today. The company expects a revenue growth of close to 40 per cent for the current year on the back of high oil prices. Profitability is expected to remain flat as it expects a subsidy burden of close to Rs4,500 crore for the year. It is also planning to hike the capacity of its refining subsidiary MRPL to 15 million tonnes per annum and set up a new refinery in Rajasthan.