Indices decline further as traders cut positions ahead of results

Selling pressure ahead of the results announcements continued today as well. The indices started their decline early in the day as most frontline stocks came under selling pressure.

The downtrend persisted throughout the session as traders unwound their positions. Lack of buying support was evident as most institutional investors are waiting for the quarterly numbers before talking fresh positions.

HDFC Bank was the biggest loser among index stocks, closing nearly 4 per cent lower. The home loan major is reportedly raising interest rates. HDFC Bank, which announced its quarterly numbers today, declined more than 2 per cent.

Telecom stocks continued to be under pressure with VSNL losing more than 3 per cent. Bharti lost nearly 3 per cent.

IPCL, Reliance Energy, Hero Honda and ACC were the other major losers among large caps.

Ranbaxy was the biggest gainer among index stocks, closing more than 4 per cent higher. Gujarat Ambuja added more than 1.5 per cent.

Sensex closed at 9445, a loss of 138 points, and the Nifty at 2871, lower by 39 points. Nifty January futures closed at a discount of 14 points to the spot index.

HDFC Bank has reported a net profit of Rs224 crore for the December quarter as compared to Rs171 crore for the same quarter of previous year. Total income for the quarter was higher at Rs1,476 crore as compared to Rs980 crore for the year ago quarter.

The ministry of heavy industries has reportedly given its consent to the finance ministry to sell the remaining 10 per cent stake in Maruti. The government is in the process of selling an 8 per cent stake, from a total of 18 per cent, to domestic financial institutions. The institutions interested in acquiring the stake have been asked to submit financial bids by tomorrow.

Ranbaxy has announced that it has signed a marketing agreement with Swiss company Ferring International. Under the deal, Ranbaxy would co-market a paediatric and geriatric care drug sourced from Ferring in the domestic market. Financial details of the agreement have not been disclosed.

Unconfirmed news agency reports indicate that Reliance Industries is planning to raise up to $1.5 billion from overseas debt markets. The huge borrowing programme is reportedly to part-finance the company's investment plans, including the development of natural gas production facilities in the KG basin.

According to news agency reports, MTNL has approached the ministry of telecom for a national long distance (NLD) license. An NLD network of its own would help in reducing tariffs for domestic long distance calls, as the company would not have to pay carriage charges to other operators.

L&T said it has won a $22 million order from the government of Oman for construction of a sewage treatment plant. The order has to be completed in 18 months.

Mid-Cap Action

Mid-caps corrected after six straight sessions of gains today. Even then, losses on the mid-cap index were considerably lower than the frontline in dices. The CNX Mid-Cap index lost 24 points and closed the day at 4214.

Aurobindo Pharma has denied that Israeli generic pharma company Teva is acquiring a stake in the company. The company informed the exchanges that no talks have been held for a stake sale. The clarification had little effect on the stock, which gained another 13 per cent today as well.

Petronet LNG is aiming at completing its new 2.5-million tonne LNG terminal at Kochi by 2010. The company also plans to expand the capacity of its Dahej terminal to 10 million tonnes per annum by then. Total capacity would be increased by another 5 million tonnes by 2014.

Reports indicate the government is planning to sell a 26 per cent stake in Tide Water Oil Company, currently held by PSU company Andrew Yule, to ONGC. Tide Water is a manufacturer of lubricants.