Indices drift lower

Trading firm till early in the afternoon, the market slipped considerably towards close as buying support failed to emerge. The global cues were good with oil prices declining and US markets closing higher yesterday. However, lack of liquidity saw the indices declining on low volumes. The Sensex closed at 6546, down 61 points and the Nifty at 2053, down 16 points.

Among index stocks ABB, Colgate Palmolive and Tata Motors were the biggest percentage gainers while ICICI Bank, Bajaj Auto and BHEL were the major losers.

Yesterday's crude futures for May delivery slipped close to half a percent on reports of higher US inventories. Dow closed with gains for the third straight day while NASDAQ closed flat.

The Indian ADR's reversed their losing trend of the last few sessions with HDFC Bank leading the way. The ADR of the private sector bank gained close to 5 percent. Tata Motors gained close to 2 percent while ICICI Bank, Dr. Reddy's and VSNL gained more than a percent each. Among the tech pack, Wipro closed with some gains while Satyam and Infosys ended almost flat. MTNL was the only loser.

Tata Motors has reported excellent sales numbers for the month of March. Total vehicles sold increased 28 percent from a year ago to 44,433 units. Passenger vehicle sales rose more than 30 percent, while exports have doubled. Sales of its Indica model crossed the 100,000 units per year mark for the first time. The stock firmed up on the news and closed with gains of more than two percent.

Tata Steel has restarted production at its largest blast furnace in Jamshedpur. The furnace was undergoing capacity expansion from 1 million to 1.8 million tonnes per annum over the last few months. Even without this furnace, the company was able to post higher production for the year ended March. The stock closed lower.