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Media stocks enliven market; ICICI Bank boosts volumes

Krishnan Thiagarajan

THE nationwide strike called in response to the Tuesday's attack in the Swaminarain temple in Gujarat contributed to lacklustre trading activity at the bourses on Thursday. The BSE Sensex which has been swamped by negative sentiment for the past three days extended its poor run to close 6.39 points lower at 3014.69 points.

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The Sensex opened for the day at 3011.42 points which was also the low for the day, touched a high of 3038.46, before swinging to close sharply lower at 3014.69 points. The gross turnover on the Bombay Stock Exchange stood at Rs 2001.38 crore (although nearly 70 per cent of the turnover was attributable to the sale of the 16 per cent equity stake of ICICI Bank to foreign investors). After adjusting for this decline, the gross turnover at around Rs 700 crore was lower than the Rs 1127.03 crore recorded in Wednesday's trading.

The advances to declines ratio was titled in favour of gainers, with 698 stocks appreciating in value while 568 stocks logged declines. Out of 1413 shares traded during the day, the stock prices of 147 shares remained unchanged.

Among the significant gainers during the day were Sri Adhikari Bros, Balaji Telefilms, Cosmo Films, Crompton Greaves, Tips Industries, Infotech Enterprises, Aptech Training, LML, HCL Technologies, Mastek and Ranbaxy Labs.

The Balaji Telefilms stock appreciated by Rs 7.9 to close at Rs 108.65. Following the stock split put through earlier this week, trading volumes in the counter shot up from 35,521 shares on Wednesday's trading to 1,40,710 shares during the day. In addition, on Monday, the RBI had approved raising the FII ceiling in the stock to 40 per cent. The possible launch of a few new programmes from the Balaji stable also appeared to have boosted sentiment.

Riding on the back of robust trading volumes, the Crompton Greaves stock appreciated by Rs 1.85 to settle for the day at Rs 40.05. Trading volumes surged from 21,783 shares on Wednesday to 3.24 lakh shares.

The LML stock was another major gainer during the day accompanied by buoyant trading volumes. The stock appreciated by Rs 1.55 to close at Rs 40.05. Trading volumes in the counter rose from 23,033 shares on Wednesday to 91,408 shares.

The pharmaceutical major Ranbaxy Laboratories stock gained Rs 4.05 to rest for the day at Rs 921.75. Trading volumes rose from 1.90 lakh shares on Wednesday to 2.02 lakh shares. Following the close of trading hours, the company intimated the stock exchange that it had entered into a wide ranging marketing alliance with Japanese drug maker Nippon Chemipar and proposes to acquire a stake in Chemipar's subsidiary.

Among the significant losers were Morepen Labs, Autolec Industries, Blue Dart Express, ICICI Bank, Novartis, Thomas Cook, Hero Honda, Nestle, Hindalco, ONGC and Bajaj Auto.

Clearly, the most significant development of the day was the sale of the 16 per cent equity stake by ICICI Bank to an assortment of foreign investors in Canada and Singapore for an aggregate value of Rs 1318 crore. Initially, the markets sensed that the deal would boost the earnings of the company, but after it became clear that the profits from this deal would be used for provisioning, the stock rapidly declined in value. ICICI Bank declined Rs 3.80 to close at Rs. 133.75.

The Morepen Labs stock declined by Rs 4.50 to close for the day at Rs 30.60. Trading volumes marched up from 2.53 lakh shares on Wednesday to 25.19 lakh shares.

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