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Thursday, Apr 08, 2004

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Downtrend persists; new stocks shine

Sowmya Sundar

AFTER a major comeback in the new fiscal year, triggered by an all-time high GDP growth, the stock markets appear to be undergoing a minor correction. For the second straight day, the indices closed lower after gaining over 300 points since the year 2004-05 commenced. Despite Moody's projecting a vibrant growth rate for the Indian economy and a favourable stance on the external financial position, the stock markets closed lower.

The new additions to the community of stocks — Biocon and Power Trading Corporation — hit the markets on Wednesday with a big bang, literally. Both the stocks commanded a high listing premium to their allotment price. Power Trading debuted at Rs 27.7 and traded at Rs 44.6, up 179 per cent from its allotment price. Biocon too, debuted with a bang and closed 53 per cent higher than the allotment price at Rs 484.

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BHEL, which had risen sharply after the company declared record order book and performance, lost some steam. The stock declined for the second straight day and closed at Rs 628, losing 1.65 per cent on Wednesday.

Lupin gained marginally even as volumes surged after it announced the launch of the anti-infective product in the US. The stock closed at Rs 658.4. Traded volumes rose 10-fold to over 30,000 shares.

Ucal Fuel rose 3.7 per cent to Rs 282.7 after the company announced that is would consider the acquisition of a majority stake in a Delhi-based company, Escorts Auto Components.

Pantaloon Retail declined marginally and closed at Rs 40.25. A block deal for 288,000 shares was struck during the day. Sugar stocks witnessed a sharp surge in volumes. Rumours that institutional investors have been accumulating Balrampur Chini after the company made a presentation could have propped up interest in the stock. Some of the top gainers were Sakthi Sugars, SIEL Sugars, Rajshree Sugars, Rana Sugars, Oudh Sugar, Dharani Sugars. Traded volumes increased sharply in all these stocks. Oudh Sugar hit upper circuit filter and closed 20 per cent higher at Rs 39.6.

Alfa Laval was another major gainer of the day among the mid-cap stocks. The stock gained 5.21 per cent to close at Rs 558.8. Thermax too edged up 2 per cent to Rs 387.6. Traded volumes were thin in both the counters.

Reliance Capital gained 5.7 per cent to close at Rs 160. Neyveli Lignite, that almost halved to Rs 43 is once again on an uptrend. The stock has been gaining slowly but steadily over the past few days.

The stock of Petronet LNG remained firm. The company had announced that it has commenced commercial supply of LNG from its Dahej Terminal.

Other major gainers were Grindwell Norton, Hyderabad Industries, MRO-Tek, Bata India, Subash Projects and Amforge Industries.

The stock of Infosys continued to move upwards. The company had on Tuesday announced that it is considering a bonus issue and a stock split.

The major loser of the day was HLL. The recent price wars and the expectation of lower profitability appear to have taken a toll on the stock performance. The stock slumped 5.6 per cent to close at Rs 146.8. The stock of Voltas declined after a sharp surge in the past few days. The stock lost nearly 5 per cent to close at Rs 130.

Some losers were Unitech, Garden Silk, JL Morison, Gangotri Textiles, Shyam Telecom, Shriram Transport, Alstom, Crompton Greaves, Garware Polymer, Zuari Industries and Motherson Sumi.

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