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Tuesday, Jun 25, 2002

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Tech stocks move down marginally

Anand Ram

A MAJORITY of stocks across-the-board turned torpid on the first day of this trading week causing major indices to falter towards a narrow close.

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The recent slide of Nasdaq did have a ripple effect insofar as it caused prices of a large number of software and technology companies to recede marginally.

On the whole, key barometers, the Sensex and the Nifty, closed down by less than a percentage point each.

The Sensex opened at its day's high of 3238.37 points. Within minutes, it lost composure and fell to its intra-day low at 3210.95 points. It then sashayed up and down for the better part of the day, moving to its close at 3231.62 points. The index fell with an erosion of 11.13 points or 0.34 per cent. The Nifty too went through similar motions, ending the day with a loss of 0.70 points or 0.07 per cent.

Broad technicals painted a mixed picture of the day's outcome. The breadth indicator, the advances to declines ratio, recorded 933 to 677. Advancing volumes were at 5.17 crore shares while declining volumes showed 4.29 crore shares. The depth indicator jumped the groove, notching 311 stocks that hit their yearly highs as against only 26 stocks that fell to their yearly lows. About 10.22 crore shares changed hands in the trading session.

Hindustan Lever seems to be the main culprit for the Sensex' dip. The heavyweight reeled down by over 2 per cent, dragging the index down by 0.33 per cent. HLL closed the day at Rs 189, losing Rs 4 over the weekend's close. Volumes were at a little above 7 lakh shares.

Other heavyweights had a wholesome effect on the index. Infosys gained 1.47 per cent lifting the index by 0.11 per cent. However, this stock also hit its calendar year low in the intra-day trading at Rs 3,092. ITC and MTNL each balanced the Sensex by 0.1 per cent, the former appreciating by 1.76 per cent while the latter fell by 2.92 per cent. MTNL's misfortune was brought on by the company denying reports of an expected dividend windfall.

Auto and steel stocks made hay at the markets on Monday. Shares of steel companies climbed, spurred on by expectations of consolidation in the prices of steel. SAIL closed up by 5.66 per cent at Rs 11.20. Volumes too were heavy at over 40 lakh shares. Tata Steel closed at Rs 132.35, up 2.08 per cent. Essar Steel ended the day at Rs 8.90, gaining about 3.5 per cent. Volumes surpassed 11 lakh shares.

On the auto front, expectations of good auto sales gave investors backing counters such as M&M, Hero Honda and Bajaj Auto ample opportunity to step on the gas. Mahindra & Mahindra finished higher by 7.44 per cent at Rs 116.20. Optimism stemmed from the company's launch of its latest utility vehicle, Scorpio.

Hero Honda took the flag at Rs 312.20, advancing 1.64 per cent. Bajaj Auto inched forward by 0.36 per cent to finish the day at Rs 510.

Optel Telecommunications, a State-run manufacturer of optical fibre cable, closed at its upper circuit filter level of 20 per cent after reports that the Madhya Pradesh Government had finalised the sale of its entire 65.4 per cent stake did the round at the markets. The stock opened at Rs 15.90, its day's high and also closed at the same price. Volumes too were unusually heavy with over 1 lakh shares changing hands in the day's trading session.

Other winners for the day profiled stocks such as BPL, SSI and Titan Industries. Counters that lost out in the day's rally featured LML, Neyveli Lignite and Mastek.

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