Markets close with marginal gains

The sentiment was positive in the morning after the US markets closed in the positive yesterday and oil prices declined substantially. The indices opened almost flat but gained strength soon.

The uptrend did not attract much support and the markets gave up part of the early gains by noon. From there on, the indices traded in a narrow band around yesterday's levels. Volumes were once again very low.

Sensex closed at 6457, up 12 points and the Nifty at 1993, up 7 points. Nifty May futures discount to the spot index narrowed to 14 points from yesterday's 17 points.

Among Nifty stocks, BPCL, HDFC and HCL Technologies were the major percentage gainers while Oriental Bank of Commerce, IPCL and MTNL were the major losers.

Yesterday, US markets closed on a positive note after the release of some strong economic data and declining oil prices. US trade deficit for the month of April narrowed much more than expected on the back of good export growth and a slow down in imports. The crash in oil prices towards close of the session led to a rally and all major indices ended in the positive. NASDAQ gained close to half a per cent while gains for the Dow were lower.

Crude oil futures on NYMEX crashed over 3 per cent to close at $50.45 to a barrel yesterday. The latest sell off was triggered by a report from the International Energy Agency which said global demand during the first quarter ended March 2005 slowed down as compared to last year. The growth in demand in China was much lower than expected. Crude is trading below $50 in early trades today.