Markets recover on low volumes

After three days of losses, the markets regained some strength today. After opening firm and gaining close to a per cent, the indices lost half of their gains by noon. The market rallied smartly in late trades to close at the day's highs. The volumes were very low and are at their lowest in the last five months. Sensex closed at 6466, up 68 points and the Nifty at 2027, up 19 points.

Among index stocks ICICI Bank, Satyam Computer and Tata Power were the biggest percentage gainers while Zee Tele, Wipro and VSNL were the major losers.

Yesterday, US markets drifted marginally down as investors are waiting for the first quarter results to come in. The Dow lost 13 points or around a tenth of a per cent while NASDAQ lost slightly more than a third of a per cent. After opening weak, crude oil futures gained close to a per cent to end at $53.71 to a barrel.

ADR's of Indian companies continued their down trend following the continued weak trend in IT stocks. Infosys lost close to 3 per cent while Wipro and Satyam lost around a per cent each. ICICI Bank lost more than 3 per cent while VSNL and HDFC Bank lost more than a per cent each. Dr. Reddy's and Tata Motors managed to close with gains.

Index of Industrial Production (IIP) grew by 4.9 per cent for the month of February 2005, according to the quick estimates released today. This is considerably lower than the 8.3 per cent growth for the same month last year and 7.5 per cent posted during January 2005. The sharp decline was mainly on account of a more than 2 per cent decline in mining as against a growth of more than 10 per cent posted by the sector last year. Among manufacturing sectors, textile was the star performer with a growth of over 24 per cent followed by paper and allied products.

The country's largest twowheeler manufacturer, Hero Honda, announced its results. While revenues for the full year increased by 30 per cent to Rs7563 crore, profits grew only by 15 per cent. For the last quarter profits actually declined as compared to the same quarter of last year indicating pressure on margins as a result of rising input costs. The company claim its market share has is above 50 per cent and is hopeful of maintaining double digit growth.