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Saturday, Feb 21, 2004

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The watchdog is moving

THE Securities and Exchange Board of India is understood to have pulled up a mid-size mutual fund for selling units at the NAV of the previous day to favoured investors.

According to a source, the enquiry officer has found the fund guilty and recommended a huge penalty. Adjudication proceedings in the matter are learnt to be under way at SEBI.

Selling pressure

THE stocks of two-wheeler maker Bajaj Auto Ltd and fast moving consumer goods major Hindustan Lever plunged headlong on Friday after facing heavy selling pressure.

According to market talk, a US-based institutional investor has been a steady seller at the two counters for a few days now. While Bajaj Auto shares dropped 3.5 per cent to close at Rs 918.25 on the BSE, HLL shares fell 1.5 per cent to end the day at Rs 179.35 on the exchange. Trading volume at the Bajaj counter on the BSE stood at 1.46 lakh shares and on the NSE at 4.68 lakh shares. While about 11.75 lakh HLL shares were traded on the BSE, nearly 32 lakh shares were traded on the NSE.

Waiting to rise

A COUPLE of institutional investors have reportedly bought a large number of shares of the shipping company Mercator Lines.

According to market talk, an institutional broker had been aggressively promoting the stock to its clients. One dealer said the accumulation has already been completed. The broker expects Mercator to re-negotiate its contract with Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) to carry crude oil at higher rates.

The shipping company is expected to complete renegotiating the contract this month as its existing pact with MRPL expires on March 31. Since tanker rates are up about 30-40 per cent year-on-year, it should be able to significantly raise rates from the current $25,000-$27,000 per day.

Mercator shares closed almost flat at Rs 248.10 apiece with a volume of 9,126 shares on the BSE.

Dinesh Narayanan

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