Indices hold firm despite mixed global trend; Sensex closes above 10100

The markets recovered smartly from Wednesday's modest correction and the indices went on to record new lifetime highs today. Net FII inflow numbers reported for Tuesday was very strong, helping market sentiment.

Asian markets were weak today morning after the late afternoon decline in US markets yesterday saw the indices giving up most of their gains. Though some of the markets like Korea recovered and gained later in the day, the Japanese index saw a sharp decline.

The Sensex and Nifty traded within a band till late in the afternoon when heavy buying in select large caps led to a sharp rally and both indices went past their early highs comfortably.

The Sensex recorded a new lifetime intra-day high of 10122 in the last half hour of trade before closing at marginally lower levels.

The Nifty saw a sharp surge in late afternoon trades which took the index to a new lifetime intra-day high of 3032.

Today was the day of the laggards. Most of the frontline stocks which have been underperforming the indices over the last year surged ahead and closed with substantial gains.

The leader of the pack was Ranbaxy which saw a sharp jump in afternoon trades. The stock which opened with modest gains closed more than 6.5 per cent higher.

HLL maintained an uptrend for most of the session and crossed the Rs200 mark today. The stock closed with gains of 5.5 per cent.

Zee Tele, another under performer, closed with gains of more than 5.5 per cent.

L&T regained all of its losses of Wednesday and added some more today. The stock closed nearly 5 per cent higher.

Hero Honda was another stock which saw a rally in afternoon trades after a strong opening. The stock closed 4 per cent higher.

Telecom stocks VSNL and MTNL made a come back and closed with gains of more than 4 and 2 per cent respectively.

Satyam, ITC and Glaxo were the other major gainers.

ICICI Bank was the biggest loser among index stocks, declining more than 3 per cent at one stage. The stock finally closed with losses of 2.5 per cent.

Bharti gave up more than 2 per cent on concerns that it would be forced to announce reduced tariffs following the launch of One India plan by BSNL and MTNL.

Sun Pharma gave up more than a per cent despite the de-merger announcement.

ACC, Infosys and ABB were the other major losers.

Sensex closed at 10111, a gain of 66 points, and the Nifty at 3028, higher by 19 points. Nifty February futures closed at a discount of 7 points to the spot index.

US markets gave up most of their early gains yesterday on fresh worries of interest rate hikes. Stocks gained in the morning on expectations of sustained corporate performance before a statement from a US Fed official on interest rates spooked the markets.

The Dow closed with gains of one quarter of a per cent while the S&P 500 index added 0.15 per cent. NASDAQ closed lower by almost half a per cent.

Crude prices declined further yesterday and went below $63 per barrel. March futures on the NYMEX closed at $62.62 per barrel, lower by nearly half a per cent, yesterday. The commodity is trading flat in early European trades today.

Tata Motors has reported a net profit of Rs460.23 December quarter as compared to Rs316.21 crore for the same quarter of previous year. Total revenues for the quarter increased to Rs5,074.55 crore as against Rs4,362.82 crore.

During the third quarter, Tata Motors sold a 20-per cent stake in its construction equipment subsidiary to Hitachi. The company has booked a profit of Rs164 crore from this transaction. The company also incurred a forex conversion loss of Rs38.63 crore as compared to a profit of Rs62.08 crore during the prior year quarter.

Tata Motors said it expects volume growth to be subdued during next year as the industry has seen good growth rates for the last three years. The company is planning to spend Rs1,000 crore on capital expenditure.

The board of Sun Pharma has approved the de-merger of its research division into a separate company. Shareholders would receive one share of face value Re1 of the new company for every share of Sun Pharma held by them.

Sun Pharma said the de-merger would be effective from April 1, 2006, and the shares of the new company would be listed on the NSE and BSE. The de-merger is subject to shareholder and High Court approvals.

Copper major Sterlite Industries has announced a bonus issue in the ratio of one share for every share held. The company has also announced that it would split its Rs5 face value shares into shares of Rs2 face value each.

The new engine plant and assembly line unit jointly promoted by Maruti and Suzuki are expected to go on stream by the end of the year 2006. These plants are being set up under two new companies established for the purpose. While Maruti would hold a majority stake in the assembly unit, Suzuki would control the engine unit, which is expected to produce diesel engines as well.

Videocon Industries has completed the first stage of its FCCB programme and has raised $90 million. The bonds having a maturity of five years and carrying a coupon rate of 5 per cent per annum are listed on the Singapore stock exchange.

Oriental Bank is planning to augment its Tier-II capital base by raising up to Rs500 crore from a bond issue.

Mid-Cap Action