Indices post new all-time closing highs as Sensex surges another 100 points

After two days of strong gains, there was some amount of scepticism on whether the indices can cross their previous lifetime highs today. The market mood is more subdued when compared to early October when the indices made their earlier highs and mid-caps have not rallied as much as the large stocks.

A modestly weak trend across Asian markets today morning led to expectations that the Indian markets may also see some profit booking today. However, the markets were in no mood to listen to voices of caution.

The opening was good enough to take the Sensex beyond the 8800 mark in mid-morning trades. After a couple of attempts, the Sensex finally crossed the previous high of 8822 by early afternoon and went on to touch 8829.

The indices declined later in the afternoon as traders booked some profits. Traders who had gone short at that point expecting a further decline would not have imagined the spectacular surge in the last hour of trade.

Some of the large stocks went into frenzy in late trades. Tata Motors, which was trading flat till afternoon, gained 3 per cent in no time. Maruti built on its early gains and M&M also powered ahead.

HLL remained firm throughout the day and saw a spectacular rise in the closing hour. The stock added close to 6 per cent today.

These heavies helped the indices to power past the earlier highs and the Sensex saw an intra-day high of 8864. The Nifty went tantalisingly close to its lifetime high of 2669. Both indices managed to post new life time closing highs.

Engineering stocks were the stars of the day, led by Siemens. The company had declared very good results yesterday which attracted heavy buying interest. The stock closed the day with gains of over 10 per cent. ABB, BHEL and L&T were the other gainers from this space.

Technology stocks had a good day as all the frontline stocks closed with good gains. Satyam closed more than 2 per cent higher and Infosys added nearly 1.5 per cent TCS gained over half a per cent while Wipro added quarter of a per cent. HCL Technologies closed more than 4 per cent higher.

Pharma stocks also saw considerable interest today. Ranbaxy recovered from its recent fall and closed more than 2.5 per cent higher. Glaxo was the biggest gainer in this sector, adding more than 5 per cent. Sun Pharma lost a quarter of a per cent while Dr. Reddy closed flat.

VSNL rallied smartly and closed with gains of over 5 per cent. Bharti added nearly 1.5 per cent.

The two big stocks, ONGC and Reliance Industries, remained subdued even in today's strong market. ONGC lost half a per cent while Reliance closed marginally lower.

Steel stocks lost ground in afternoon trades. Tata Steel, which was trading with gains of close to 2 per cent, dropped sharply and closed with losses. SAIL also closed lower. Other metal stocks like Nalco were also weak. Hindalco gave up early gains and closed marginally higher.

Sensex closed at 8853, a gain of 109 points, and the Nifty at 2664, higher by 29 points. Nifty December futures closed at a premium of 7 points to the spot index.

HLL, Glaxo and VSNL were the major gainers among Nifty stocks while SAIL, Tata Tea and ONGC were the major losers.
US markets remained closed yesterday on account of a public holiday.

Indian Oil is planning to offload it's nearly 10 per cent stake in ONGC in stages. Company management said the funds would be utilised for retiring debt. Indian Oil has nearly Rs24,000 crore of debt in its books. ONGC had indicated that it is interested in buying back the shares from Indian Oil.

A news agency has reported that ONGC has submitted a bid for acquiring Petro Canada's oil assets in Syria. The report said Chinese oil company CNPC is the other major bidder.

ONGC may join hands with a Turkish oil company to bid for oil assets in Libya. The two companies already have a partnership with equal stakes in two onshore exploration fields in Libya.

The government has given its approval to Vodafone to raise its stake in Bharti Enterprises to 49 per cent. Bharti Enterprises is the ultimate holding company of Bharti Televentures. Currently Vodafone, the world's largest mobile services company holds nearly 10 per cent of Bharti Enterprises.

However, Vodafone cannot buy the entire 49 per cent unless some other foreign investor sells out. As per the current regulations, foreign holdings in the telecom sector are limited to 74 per cent. In Bharti Televentures, the total foreign holding is currently at around 66 per cent. Vodafone had mentioned earlier that it is interested in raising its stake in future.