Sensex touches 9714, Nifty 2949 on record volumes

The markets continued from where they ended yesterday and surged to new lifetime highs as the global markets have stabilised. The absence of major negative surprises in the quarterly results announced so far is keeping market sentiment on a fairly positive note.

Traders have also started taking positions ahead of the budget. Though there is still a month to go before the budget presentation, traders are mostly optimistic. This is evident from the record volumes witnessed today, the last day of the January series in the futures segment.

Both indices opened with good gains and maintained the up trend throughout the session. There were no signs of profit booking even at higher levels as the indices closed at new all-time closing highs.
The Sensex crossed 9700 for the first time ever and saw a new intra-day high of 9714. The Nifty posted a new high of 2949 in intraday trades.

L&T was the best performer among index stocks after the company announced a large order from ONGC. The stock closed with gains of more than 5 per cent.

Dr Reddy surged more than 4 per cent today as the company's quarterly numbers announced yesterday were better than expected.

Hindustan Lever gained more than 4 per cent ahead of its results announcement. The strong results posted by ITC and Colgate have revived hopes about the FMCG sector.

Select banking and financial stocks had a good day after yesterday's interest rate hike by the RBI. ICICI Bank gained more than 4 per cent while HDFC added 3.5 per cent.

Two-wheeler stocks Bajaj Auto and Hero Honda both closed with gains of around 3 per cent each.

Wipro, HCL Technologies and Bharti were among the other major gainers among the index stocks.

Oriental Bank was the biggest loser among index stocks with a 5 per cent fall. SBI also lost close to 2 per cent.

Telecom stocks VSNL and MTNL lost ground. While VSNL dropped nearly 4 per cent, MTNL declined 1.5 per cent.

Jet Airways declined further and closed below the Rs1,000 mark.
Oil stocks HPCL and BPCL lost as higher crude prices are expected to affect their bottom lines.

IPCL, Tata Chemicals and Tata Tea were the other major losers among frontline stocks.

Sensex closed at 9686, a gain of 136 points, and the Nifty at 2940, higher by 32 points. Nifty February futures closed at a discount of 22 points to the spot index.

US indices continued their recovery from Friday's sharp fall yesterday as well. Though some of the results announced yesterday were not up to expectations, further decline in crude prices helped the markets.

The Dow and S&P 500 indices closed with gains of around one-fifth of a per cent each for the second day. Gains on the NASDAQ were much higher at three-quarters of a per cent.

Oil prices continued the decline from Monday as traders booked profits after last week's strong gains. March futures on the NYMEX closed at $67.06 per barrel, a decline of more than $1 per barrel. The commodity is trading below $67 per barrel in early European trades today.

L&T has announced that it has won a Rs2,117 crore order from ONGC along with Samsung Heavy Industries of South Korea. The order is for the development of an offshore platform. L&T's share of the order is Rs776 crore. The order would be executed over a period of two years.

Ranbaxy management has confirmed that the company is actively pursuing acquisitions in the US, according to news agency reports. The company is reportedly looking at mid-sized pharma companies to meet its revenue target of $2 billion by the year 2007.

Grasim has reported a consolidated net profit of Rs195.34 crore for the December quarter as compared to Rs207.17 crore in the prior year quarter. Consolidated revenues for the quarter were at Rs2,532.73 crore as against Rs2,382.41 crore. The company's cement division posted strong results but the performance of other divisions were not up to the mark.

Pharma major Cipla has reported a net profit of Rs175.31 for the December quarter as compared to Rs125.67 crore in the prior year quarter. Total revenues for the quarter were at Rs855 crore as against Rs637 crore.

Mid-Cap Action

Smaller stocks under performed the large caps for the second day, mostly because some of the major gainers from the pervious week came under selling pressure. The CNX Mid-Cap index gained 31 points and closed the day at 4259.

Indian Overseas Bank has reported a net profit of Rs197 crore for the December quarter as compared to Rs161 crore for the prior year quarter. Total income was higher at Rs1,303 crore as against Rs1,173 crore.

Federal Bank has announced that the central government has approved the amalgamation of Ganesh Bank, a cooperative bank based in Maharashtra, with itself. The merger would be effective from today.

Bank of Maharashtra has signed an agreement with LIC to sell the latter's insurance products through its branch network.

Crompton Greaves has reported a net profit of Rs43.21 crore for the December quarter as compared to Rs31.59 crore for the previous year quarter. Total revenues were also higher at Rs654.48 crore as against Rs477.66 crore.