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Wednesday, Nov 06, 2002

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IT, cement stocks in limelight; PSUs tumble

Suresh Krishnamurthy

TECHNOLOGY stocks stayed firm on a day marked by all-round decline in prices. Among the sector indices of BSE, BSE TecK and BSE IT finished in positive territory. The stocks of public sector companies were the worst performers as reports of delay in privatisation of Nalco adversely affected sentiment. Thin levels of trading during the day also suggested the lack of buying interest keeping the market moribund.

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On the BSE, trading turnover was around Rs 1,194 crore much lower than that of Rs 1,555 crore recorded on Friday. In the A and B1 group, almost 60 per cent of stocks recorded declines while the ratio of losers were lower at 45 per cent in the case of B2 stocks.

On the NSE, trading turnover was Rs 2,083 crore. This was again significantly lower than Rs 2,970 crore recorded on Friday. About 274 stocks advanced while 371 stocks recorded decline. Interestingly, S&P CNX Nifty ended the day with gains while Sensex recorded losses. The higher weight to technology stocks in Nifty, especially the presence of Wipro, may partly explain the superior performance of Nifty on this day.

Major losers for the day were stocks of public sector companies. The stock of Nalco shed 10.8 per cent as a disinvestments ministry official had indicated that the strategic sale would not be completed in this financial year. Nalco, incidentally, gained a rupee in the muhurat trading on Monday. Other major losers during the day were BPCL, Shipping Corporation and Bharat Electronics.

Stocks of VSNL and IPCL, stocks in which strategic sale has been completed also lost value.

Other prominent losers included the stock of Reliance Industries, which had soared initially last week on the back of reported gas find remained depressed on Tuesday. Stocks of Titan, Bajaj Auto and Zee Telefilms also lost value.

Among A-group stocks, major gainers during the day included stocks such as Trigyn Technologies, Saw Pipes, Wartsila NSD and Syngenta India.

The stock of Syngenta India gained 2.9 per cent on Tuesday accompanied by relatively large volumes. The stock attracted trading interest on Friday as well. The stock, however, was unmoved during muhurat trading on Monday. After close of hours, the company announced that Syngenta South Asia will be making an open offer to acquire the non-promoter holdings at Rs 130 per share. The offer price is at a premium of 37 per cent over Tuesday's closing price.

Other major attractions were Tata Steel and Ispat Industries. Both the stocks rose in early trading on the back of reports that Tata Steel was considering acquiring Ispat Industries. However, the enthusiasm faded as Tata Steel denied these reports. Tata Steel ended the day barely unchanged while the stock of Ispat Industries closed at Rs 4.85, 25 paise below its day's high.

Stocks that stayed firm during the day included Larsen & Toubro, India Cements, ACC and Gujarat Ambuja. The stock of ACC was the best performer among the lot. The stock of L&T gained 1.66 per cent to close above the open offer price of Grasim Industries. L&T reported a 22-per cent rise in shipments for October. L&T also issued an outlook after close of trading hours that it expects cement prices to show a firmer trend in the second half of the year and that it expects revenues to rise by 15 per cent for the present financial year. The stock of Grasim lost value during the day.

Among technology stocks, major gainers were stocks of relatively smaller companies such as Trigyn Technologies, Sonata Software and Zensar Technologies. Stocks of IT majors such as Infosys, Satyam, Wipro and HCL Technologies also recorded gains. Stocks that bucked the trend to record losses include CMC, NIIT, MphasiS BFL and Polaris Software.

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