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Friday, Feb 13, 2004

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Weak banks, techs drag down indices

B. Krishnakumar

REVERSING the four-day rising trend, the key market indices closed on a weak note on Thursday. After opening on a strong note at 5973.71, the 30-share BSE Sensex touched a high of 5986.41 before sliding to the intra-day low of 5886.98. It closed at 5936.96, down 12.82 points from the previous day's close of 5949.78.

The S&P CNX Nifty mirrored a similar trend. It declined by 6.2 points to close at 1885.3. The weak trend in technology and banking sector stocks played a key role in pulling down the indices. Infosys Technologies, Wipro, Hindalco Industries, SBI and Grasim, were the prominent losers from the stocks that constitute the index.

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The share price of Infosys Technologies dropped by Rs 115.35 to settle at Rs 5354.05. Hindalco's share price closed at Rs 1346.25, down Rs 39.15 from Wednesday's close.

Apart from Infosys and Wipro, the likes of Mphasis BFL, Satyam and e-Serve International, were the prominent losers from the information technology sector. Reflecting the underlying weakness in the technology sector stocks, the S&P CNX IT Index dropped by 1.45 per cent to 21786.25. i-flex Solutions was an exception to the weak trend that prevailed in the technology sector. The share price of the company increased by Rs 24.65 or 3.7 per cent to Rs 686.05. Trading volumes zipped to 1.05 lakh shares from 18,367 shares recorded on Wednesday. BHEL, Bharti Tele-ventures, HPCL and Hindustan Lever were amongst the major gainers from the index stocks. The share price of BHEL increased by Rs 21.95 to Rs 609.45, while Hindustan Lever's share price increased by Rs 2.1 to Rs 197.65. The share price of oil refinery companies managed to attract market interest during the day. Kochi Refineries, MRPL, Chennai Petroleum and HPCL were the top gainers from the sector. The share price of Kochi Refineries increased by 10.4 per cent to Rs 182. Trading volume increased sharply to 4.49 lakh shares from 43,764 shares recorded the previous day.

After recording a sharp rise on Wednesday, key banking sector stocks posted a sharp slide on Thursday. The likes of Bank of Baroda, SBI, Oriental Bank and Punjab National Bank were the prominent losers from the banking sector.

The share price of Bank of Baroda dropped by Rs 15.8 or 6.2 per cent to Rs 239.75. Trading volumes almost doubled to 13.42 lakh shares from 6.79 lakh shares recorded the previous day.

While a few banking stocks ruled weak, Indian Overseas Bank and ICICI Bank were prominent absentees from the losers list. The share price of Indian Overseas Bank increased by 8 per cent to Rs 46.4. From 22.34 lakh shares traded on Wednesday, transaction volumes shot up to 38.37 lakh shares on Thursday.

Buoyed by the decision to issue bonus shares, the share price of Alembic and Wockhardt recorded a sharp rise on Thursday. The share price of Alembic shot up by 20 per cent to Rs 408.6. Trading volumes spurted to 1.68 lakh shares from 14,162 shares recorded on Wednesday. The company plans to offer two shares for every share held.

The share price of Wockhardt closed higher by 12 per cent or Rs 94.05 at Rs 894.3. Trading volumes jumped to 3.3 lakh shares from 30,861 shares recorded the previous day. The company has decided to offer bonus shares in the ratio of 1:2 and reduce the face value of the shares to Rs 5 from Rs 10.

Along with the companies in the software and banking sector, a weak trend ruled in the cement sector stocks as well. Top companies such as ACC, Grasim and Gujarat Ambuja Cement were the major losers. The share price of ACC dropped by Rs 5.8 to close at Rs 269.4. Trading volumes declined to 21.74 lakh shares from 29.52 lakh shares recorded the previous day.

The share price of Grasim Industries dropped by Rs 23.10 to Rs 1135.65. About 73, 435 shares were traded on Thursday.

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