Indices celebrate new fiscal year

No fooling around on 1 April for the equity markets. The market started the new financial year on all round optimism about strong corporate results for the Jan-March quarter. Continued buoyancy in Asian markets added to the positive sentiment. After an uncertain opening, the indices continued to gain ground till the close. Sensex closed at 6605, up 112 points and the Nifty at 2068, up 32 points.

Among index stocks HPCL, VSNL and MTNL were the biggest percentage gainers while HDFC and Infosys were the top losers.

Crude futures for May delivery jumped back above $55 to a barrel. US markets dipped marginally yesterday after the strong gains posted on Wednesday. Dow and NASDAQ both lost just above one quarter of a percent.

ADR's of Indian companies posted significant gains yesterday. ICICI Bank, which had declined substantially after its sponsored ADR issue, led the rally with gains of close to six per cent. VSNL rose four percent while Satyam and Tata Motors gained more than 3 percent each. HDFC Bank added more than two percent while Infosys, Wipro and MTNL gained more than a percent each. Dr. Reddy's was the sole loser yesterday.

Inflation for the week ended 19 March fell marginally to 5.11 percent as compared to 5.23 percent for the previous week on lower food and energy prices.

Bharat Heavy Electricals was the star of the day as it turned in a very strong performance for its financial year ending December '04. Net profits surged more than 50 percent to cross Rs1,000 crore on sales growth of over twenty per cent. The company has a very strong order book of more than Rs31,000 crore and has recently received large orders from both within the country and outside. The stock surged more than four percent.