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Tuesday, Jan 22, 2002

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Select old economy stocks up in dull trades

Reshma Krishnan

THE Bombay bourses started the week on a lacklustre note with trading on Monday remaining flat. The 30-share, Bombay Stock Exchange index, the Sensex, closed up 0.16 per cent or 5.24 points at 3382.29 points from the previous Friday's close of 3377.05 points.

The index opened at 3370 points and traded within a range of 27.19 points between an intra-day high of 3396.92 points and a low of 3369.73 points.

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The National stock exchange (NSE) index, on the other hand, closed down by 0.16 per cent to end at 1085 points.

The broad market trend (new highs to new lows), which indicates the underlying market sentiment, was positive, as there were 26 new highs in comparison to 18 new lows. The advance /decline ratio was also in tandem with the broad market trend and was positive with 564 issues advancing compared to a decline in 520 issues.

The market was partial to old economy stocks cheered by a few good quarter results. The trend towards the blue chip could also be a sign that investors were rushing towards safer and reliable stocks in times of uncertainly. Therefore companies such as MRF, Madras Cements, ITC, Hero Honda and Dr. Reddy saw a bit of action.

However, Wipro and Infosys Technologies ended on weak note. Cipla and NIIT were among those Sensex-constituents that saw a fall in values.

Starting with the old economy blue chips, MRF was the leading gainer. It gained Rs 85.55 to close up at Rs 824 from the Friday close of Rs 738.45. Volumes stood at 6,002 shares.

Dr. Reddy, the Indian drug-maker saw its shares come into investor favour for the day. The stock closed up by Rs 19.75 at Rs 994.75 from the previous day's close of Rs 975.75. Trading volumes stood at 3,16,967 shares. The investor interest could have been sparked by the fact the company has offered an employee separation scheme for all permanent workers over the age of 40 or those who completed 10 years of service.

India's second-largest drug maker by market share, Cipla, fell by Rs 38.20 after it reported on the week-end a 17-per cent year-on-year rise in its October-December net profit, which were below market expectations. said on Saturday its third quarter profit rose to Rs 62.65 crore on sales of Rs 366 crore, up 32.8 percent. The stock closed at Rs 1,130.65 from the Friday's close of Rs 1,168.85. The trading volumes stood at 1.73 lakh shares.

Hero Honda was another gainer for the day. The company saw its stock rise by Rs 16.70 to end the day at Rs 327.30 from Friday's close of Rs 310.60. Trading volumes stood at 1.36 lakh shares.

IBP Co Ltd, a State-run a petroleum retailer, saw its self in investors favour. Its share price rose by Rs 16.40 to end the day at Rs 543 .85 from the Friday close of Rs 527.45. Trading volumes stood at 23,931 shares.

This rise was probably on the back of the company reporting over the week-end that its October-December net profit surged to Rs 66.62 crore from Rs 11.87 crore a year ago.

The higher net profit takes into account the increased other income, which rose 56 per cent to Rs 27.87 crore and a separation cost charge of Rs 8.61 crore, which was non-existent last year.

ITC also saw a good start to the week. Its shares went up by Rs 13.15 from the previous day's close of Rs 727.55. Trading volumes stood at 92,638 shares.

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