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Wednesday, Jul 05, 2006

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Bellwether indices continue to move within narrow range

Alagappan Arunachalam

Significant drop in liquidity
Banking stocks in the limelight
FIIs net buyers for the third straight day

The markets, which opened on a strong note, fell victim to the heavy downpour in the financial capital. Water logging appears to have drowned sentiment of market participants. With the markets attracting little activity, the bellwether indices continued to move within a narrow range. Turnover dropped significantly, trades worth about Rs 6,900 crore were executed on the exchanges as against the 20-day average of Rs 9,900 crore. Lower liquidity levels appear to have favoured the bears, which was reflected in the advances-declines ratio. Many sector-oriented indices on the BSE closed in the red, topping the list were the FMCG index and capital goods index. Banking and auto sector indices bucked the trend to close with gains of 1.2 and 0.4 per cent respectively.

Buzzing Stocks

Despite lower liquidity quite a few stocks in the banking sector such as Laksmi Vilas Bank, Yes Bank and Vijaya Bank attracted heightened activity. IT stocks such as Educomp Solutions, Sasken Communications, Allsec Technologies and i-Gate Global Solutions also featured in the limelight. India Cements, ACC and Gujarat Ambuja Cement too attracted significant activity.

Sector Focus

On a dull day, banking stocks rocked the markets. The advances-gains ratio reflected the positive sentiment that prevailed in the banking sector. As many as 16 stocks among the 18 constituents of the BSE Bankex gained value. Prominent gainers included Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank, Punjab National Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Canara Bank and SBI. Karnataka Bank and Bank of India were among the few that bucked the trend.

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FMCG stocks took most of the beating from the bears. Quite a few frontline stocks topped the losers' list. ITC and Hindustan Lever shed about two per cent each. Liquor stocks - Shaw Wallace, Radico Khaitan and United Breweries were subject to the bearish sentiment. GTC Industries was also among the prominent losers. Tata Coffee broke away from the sideways movement by shedding about three per cent. McLeod Russel, which opened at its upper circuit for the second straight day, recorded heightened activity. The stock, however, losing steam closed flat at Rs 106.

Stock-specific Action

Neyveli Lignite Corporation, which attracted significant activity in the past in the wake of a stake divestment announcement by the Government, did not find favour with market participants. About 75 thousand shares changed hands on the BSE as against last week's average of about two lakh shares. The stock, which continued sideways movement, closed at Rs 61.

Godrej Consumer Products' acquisition of the Rapidol International's business in South Africa failed to lift spirits of market participants on its counter. The stock closed flat at Rs 644 on thin volumes.

Strides Arcolab announced that the World Health Organisation has added one of its drug used in the treatment of AIDS to its approved list of medicines. The stock shed about two per cent to close at Rs 285 as lower liquidity appears to have outscored the positive announcement.

Other Gainers/Losers

Lupin, Mphasis BFL, Patni Computer Systems, Reliance Capital, Ingersoll Rand, TVS Motor, Sterlite Industries, Raymond and Cadila Healthcare topped the losers' list among the Junior Nifty constituents. Prominent gainers included stocks such as Nirma, Great Eastern Shipping, Polaris and i-flex Solutions.

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