Market close flat on volatile day

Market opened surprisingly in the positive, shrugging off weak global sentiments. However, indices struggled to hold higher levels and declined rapidly. The indices managed a rebound early in the afternoon to test the highs of the morning, only to decline again later. Sensex closed flat at 6604 and the Nifty at 2064, down 4 points.

Among index stocks, ICICI Bank was the best performer with a new all time high of Rs425 before closing at Rs418, a net gain of 3 percent over the previous closing. Gujarat Ambuja and Dabur were the other percentage gainers while Tisco and M&M were the top losers.

On Friday, ADR's of Indian companies resisted the weak sentiment on Wall Street to post good gains. Satyam, MTNL and Tata Motors closed with gains of 3 percent each. Wipro, Dr. Reddy's and VSNL also managed gains while ICICI Bank ended flat.

Heavy construction and defense equipment manufacturer BEML was locked up in 20 percent upper price circuit after the company reported a more than four fold increase in profits for the year ended 31 March '05. Sales grew close to 10 percent to Rs1,916 crore, the highest ever in the company's history. The figures are provisional and un-audited.

Defense electronics major BEL also reported strong provisional figures for the financial year '04 -'05. Profits rose close to 40 percent as sales grew 15 percent to cross Rs3,000 crore for the first time in the company's history.

Maruti Udyog reported disappointing sales numbers for the month of March. Volume sales are up a meager 3.6 percent as compared to last year. Sales of the entry-level model 800 continued its rapid decline. In the absence of new model launches, the company is finding it difficult to maintain growth momentum. Sales for the year ended March '05 crossed the half million mark for the first time in its history. The stock lost more than two percent.