Banking stocks and ONGC help indices to close higher

The firm closing by US markets did not have much of an impact on Asian markets today. Most of them were ripe for some profit booking after the gains of last few sessions. As expected, major Asian markets closed marginally lower today.

Indian indices opened with a positive gap from yesterday's closing. The Sensex went past 9400 once again before noon, but declined later and gave up around a per cent from the highs of the day.

Afternoon trades saw a recovery in the indices and they went back to the early morning levels. They traded within a range for the rest of the day and closed on a steady note.

ONGC held the indices firm and closed with gains of close to 2.5 per cent. Reliance Industries was subdued even as the company set the record date for the de-merger process.

Banking and financial services stocks had a better day today led by HDFC Bank which added over 2 per cent. HDFC gained close to 2 per cent while PNB added well over a per cent.

ACC recovered from yesterday's losses and closed more than a per cent higher.

Technology stocks had a steady day as Infosys, Wipro and Satyam closed with gains. TCS closed marginally lower.

Tata Steel, Tata Motors and VSNL were the other gainers among index stocks.

HPCL was the biggest loser among index stocks as oil prices recovered yesterday. Indian Oil also closed lower. BPCL, however, added a per cent.

Aluminium stocks continued to lose ground today as well. Both Hindalco and Nalco lost close to a per cent each.

After showing some signs of recovery yesterday, Ranbaxy gave up more than a per cent today. The stock has lost over 7 per cent after the adverse court ruling on atorvastatin.

MTNL also came under some profit booking and closed more than 1.5 per cent lower. Zee Tele, Maruti and Reliance Energy were the other losers among index stocks.

Sensex closed at 9372, a gain of 33 points, and the Nifty at 2835, higher by 12 points. Nifty December futures closed at a discount of one point to the spot index.

IPCL, ONGC and HDFC Bank were the biggest gainers among Nifty stocks while HPCL, Jet Airways and MTNL were the major losers.

US indices closed higher on good corporate results yesterday as they recovered from four days of losses. However, part of the gains was given up in afternoon trades as General Motors continued to slide. Technology stocks were better off than the broad market.

The Dow and the S&P 500 closed one-quarter of a per cent higher while gains on the NASDAQ were higher at close to half-a-per cent.

Crude oil recovered yesterday on an unexpected decline in US stocks of refined petroleum products. January futures on the NYMEX closed at $58.56 per barrel yesterday, higher by close to a per cent from the previous day's close. The commodity is trading with gains around the $59 mark in early European trades today.

Reliance Industries has set 25 January as the record date for the de-merger of telecom, power and financial services investments. Reliance shareholders would receive one share each of Reliance Communication Ventures, Reliance Capital Ventures, Reliance Energy Ventures and Global Fuel Management for every share held.

The four new companies would hold controlling stakes in companies like Reliance Capital, Reliance Energy and Reliance Infocomm. All the 4 companies would be under the ADAE group and would be listed separately on the exchanges.

The shareholders of Dabur India have approved the proposed bonus issue in the ratio of one share for every share held.

Mid-Cap Action

Mid-caps also gained ground after yesterday's flat close. Sector specific activity was seen in the smaller stocks, especially in the sugar space. The CNX Mid-Cap index gained 13 points and closed the day at 4003.

An investment company of the government of Dubai would acquire a majority stake in travel and forex services company Thomas Cook India. The Dubai investment firm has acquired a 60 per cent stake from the German parent of Thomas Cook for $96 million.

Dubai Financial, the acquirer, would come out with an open offer for an additional 20 per cent stake from other shareholders of Thomas Cook India as per SEBI guidelines. The price for the open offer has not been announced, but it is believed that the offer price would be lower than the current market price.

The board of Tata Teleservices Maharastra has approved a rights issue in the ratio of 2 shares for every 25 shares held. The company has announced a price range of between Rs25 and Rs27 per share for the issue. The stock closed more than 5 per cent lower today.