Reliance helps markets to recover from early losses

Indices had an uncertain opening, dropping twice and recovering to yesterday's closing levels early in the morning. Modest gains in the US markets yesterday and gains in most Asian indices today were countered by surging crude prices and continuing worries about monsoons.

Unable to find fresh triggers, markets drifted down till early in the afternoon. Weakness was visible in most front line stocks including heavyweights like ONGC and SBI.

Strong buying in Reliance Industries, which closed with gains of close to 2 per cent, helped the indices on their way to recovery later in the afternoon. HDFC was the other prominent winner. HLL made a strong up move later in the day to recover all of its earlier losses.

Sensex closed at 6906, up 6 points and the Nifty at 2124, almost unchanged from yesterday's close. Nifty June futures discount to the spot narrowed to 14 points from yesterday's 23 points.

Among Nifty stocks, HDFC, Reliance Industries and M&M were the major percentage gainers while Tata Power, SBI and Grasim were the major losers.

Yesterday, US markets managed to close with gains as oil and metal stocks led a mild surge after a tentative start. Oil stocks were helped by the surge in crude prices while metal stocks recovered from their decline over the past few weeks. Technology posted the best gains which helped NASDAQ to close with gains of over half a per cent. Among the broader indices, gains on S&P 500 were far better than the Dow.