Indices at new highs as engineering and tea stocks surge

Indices opened the day on a positive note but gave up all their gains as Asian markets turned weak. The Japanese index continued its downward journey from last week while South Korea also gave up more than a per cent.

Both indices recorded new lifetime highs in early trades. After slipping marginally into the red, the indices recovered and re-tested their early highs in mid-morning trades. They slipped again by noon before another recovery took them higher.

Late afternoon trades saw select index stocks surging ahead which helped both indices to close the day at new record highs.

The Sensex recorded a new lifetime intra-day high of 10183 in the last half hour. The Nifty saw a new high of 3043.

L&T was the star of the day as the stock continued the up trend from Friday and touched a new lifetime high. The stock closed with gains of over 8 per cent.

The rally in L&T lifted other engineering stocks BHEL and ABB as well. BHEL added 3 per cent while ABB closed more than 2.5 per cent higher.

Tata Tea saw a sharp surge in late afternoon trades, following strong gains across smaller tea stocks. The stock closed with gains of over 7 per cent.

MTNL and Zee also continued their rally from Friday and closed with substantial gains for the second straight session. MTNL added over 6 per cent while Zee closed more than 5 per cent higher.

There is considerable market speculation that Zee may go in for a de-merger of its various businesses into different entities. The company has not made any announcements so far.

Tata Motors also saw a sustained rally later in the day with heightened activity in the futures segment. The stock finally closed nearly 5 per cent higher.

Cement major Grasim closed with gains of more than 4.5 per cent while a late rally took HPCL more than 3.5 per cent higher.

Ranbaxy was another gainer, closing more than 2.5 per cent higher.

SCI was the biggest loser among index stocks, closing more than 5 per cent lower. Jet Airways lost over 2.5 per cent on reports of flight disruptions at newly acquired Air Sahara.

Aluminium stocks came under pressure as Nalco shed more than 2.5 per cent and Hindalco lost over a per cent.

HDFC Bank, Hero Honda, Wipro and TCS were the other major losers among index stocks.

Sensex closed at 10173, a gain of 62 points, and the Nifty at 3041, higher by 13 points. Nifty February futures closed at a discount of 13 points to the spot index.

Crude prices are continuing the decline from last week and are trading below $62 per barrel in early European trades today.

Cipla has announced a bonus issue in the ratio of 3 shares for every 2 shares held. The company's board has also approved plans to raise up to $200 million from an overseas issue.

Union Bank of India has fixed the price band for its public issue at between Rs100 and Rs110 per share. The issue would open on 15 February and aims to raise over Rs450 crore.

Glaxo Smithkline Pharma has reported a consolidated net profit of Rs507.14 crore for the full year ended December 2005 as compared to Rs337.67 crore for the previous year. Total revenues increased from Rs1,462.97 crore to Rs1,584.6 crore.

For the quarter ended December 2005, Glaxo has reported a stand- alone net profit of Rs42.38 crore as compared to Rs23.63 crore during the pervious year. Revenues increased to Rs344.39 crore as against Rs299.24 crore.

BPCL would close part of its Mumbai refinery next month as part of a planned maintenance programme.

Mid-Cap Action

Mid-caps outperformed the larger stocks today as well. The market breadth was once again highly positive, reflecting the broad rally in smaller stocks. The mid-cap index touched yet another lifetime intra-day high today. The CNX Mid-Cap index gained 32 points to end the day at 4459.

Smaller tea plantation stocks were once again the rage today. After a mixed opening, stocks of companies in this sector gained substantially later in the day with many of them locked in upper circuits.

McLeod Russell and Williamson Tea closed the day at 20 per cent upper circuit. Williamson Magor, Jayshree Tea and Harrison Malayalam ended the day on 10 per cent upper circuit.

Opto Circuits has received the CE certification for its coronary stents. The company said the certification would help in marketing the products in Europe, Africa and Latin America.