Indices set new records as Sensex close above 9000 for the first time

After many sessions of indecisiveness, the markets finally made a firm move upwards and the indices recorded new lifetime highs. In the process, the Sensex managed to close above the 9000 mark for the first time ever.

Global sentiment was not that positive as US markets closed lower yesterday mostly on higher oil prices. Despite this most Asian markets were strong today, except Korea. Japan recovered partially from a major fall yesterday and closed 1.5 per cent higher.
The Sensex posted a new intra-day lifetime high of 9081 and the Nifty's high point was at 2761.

A major part of the gains in frontline indices came from two of the biggest stocks, ONGC and Reliance. ONGC continued its good show from the last few sessions and closed nearly 3 per cent higher. Reliance Industries attracted interest after the High Court approved its de-merger proposal and closed 2 per cent higher.

Telecom stocks MTNL and VSNL were among the biggest gainers among index stocks. Markets are expecting good growth in the broadband internet space for these companies.

MTNL closed nearly 7 per cent higher while VSNL added close to 5.5 per cent. MTNL has been a significant underperformer over the past couple of years.

Technology stocks were led by TCS, which surged more than 4 per cent on media reports about possible overseas acquisitions. Infosys gained nearly 2 per cent while Wipro and Satyam also closed higher by more than a per cent each.

Auto stocks also closed with significant gains today. Two-wheeler stocks were the best performers in this space as Hero Honda gained nearly 4 per cent. Bajaj Auto closed more tan 3 per cent higher.

Power utility stocks Reliance Energy and Tata Power were among the significant gainers among index stocks. The former added nearly 4 per cent while the latter closed more than 2.5 per cent higher.

Predictably, oil marketing stocks were weak as crude surged past the $60 mark yesterday. Both BPCL and HPCL closed more than a per cent each lower.

Sensex closed at 9067, a gain of 161 points, and the Nifty at 2756, higher by 49 points. Nifty December futures closed at a discount of 2 points to the spot index.

MTNL, VSNL and TCS were the major gainers among Nifty stocks while BPCL, Jet Airways and HPCL were the major losers.
Weakness continued in the US markets yesterday as crude oil surged past the $60 mark. Concerns about higher fuel costs affecting sentiments once again surfaced and the investors took the exit route.

Technology shares were also weak ahead of a quarterly earnings update from Intel.

The Dow lost half a per cent and S&P 500 declined one-tenth of a per cent. NASDAQ closed one quarter of a per cent lower.

Better than expected inventory data could not keep crude prices lower for a second day as expectations of higher demand too over yesterday. Many parts of Northern hemisphere are experiencing a colder than normal winter and prices of heating oil has rallied.

January crude futures on the NYMEX lost added well over 2 per cent and closed at $60.66 yesterday. The commodity is trading above $61 in early European trades today.

The High Court of Mumbai has approved the de-merger scheme of Reliance Industries. The company can now go ahead with the remaining procedures to split the Reliance group businesses into two separate groups.

TCS is planning to increase revenues from the BPO business from the current $50 million to $200 million over the next two years. The company is aggressively moving into the BPO space after being a slow starter. TCS would increase the number of BPO employees to nearly 5,000 over the next year.

To achieve rapid growth in the BPO space, TCS is considering overseas acquisitions. According to media reports, the company has already identified a few companies in Europe providing banking related outsourcing services. TCS had acquired a BPO company in South America earlier.

Jet Airways is targeting revenues of $3 billion annually after five years. The company expects the share of international operations to rise to nearly half of total revenues by then. The airline is adopting a strategy of expanding its international network while maintaining its dominant position within the country.

Hitachi of Japan would raise its stake in Telco Construction Equipment from the current 20 per cent to 40 per cent. Telco Construction Equipment is a joint venture between Tata Motors and Hitachi. The company is one of the leading manufacturers of construction equipment in the country.

M&M has inaugurated it new assembly line near Haridwar in the state of Uttaranchal. The new plant would turn out 50,000 three-wheelers annually at its peak capacity.

Ashok Leyland has reported lower saes volumes for the month of November as compared to the same period of last year. In contrast, Tata Motors had reported good sales growth for November.

Gail has signed an agreement with a Norwegian company to develop a new technology for transportation and storage of natural gas.

Mid-Cap Action

Mid-cap stocks remained subdued today as well even as the frontline stocks surged ahead. The CNX Mid-Cap index added 23 points, or half a per cent, and closed the day at 3929.

Bharat Forge has signed an agreement with a Chinese company to set up a joint venture in that country. The JV, in which Bharat Forge would hold a majority stake, would manufacture automotive forgings and would have a capacity of 1-lakh tonnes per annum. The level of investments required was not disclosed.

Adlabs has announced that the company has raised $100 million from an FCCB issue. The five-year, zero-interest bonds would be converted at a premium of 50 per cent to the current market price.

Polaris Software was the biggest gainer among mid-cap technology stocks after the company announced that it would be the launch partner of Microsoft for two new packages.

Jaibharat Maruti, BBTC and Shasun Chemicals were among the significant mid-cap gainers on the NSE.