Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Mar 14, 2002
Markets - Stock Markets
Markets shrug it off -- Keep eye on March 15
MUMBAI, March 13
FINANCIAL markets across the country shrugged off a Supreme Court ruling on the bhumi puja issue on Wednesday, but marketmen are keeping a wary eye on March 15.
The Supreme Court has restrained the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) from going ahead with the bhumi puja it had proposed to do in Ayodhya on March 15. However, the VHP later said: "There is no change in the March 15 programme.''
Stock markets remained cool to the frenzy in political circles. The BSE Sensex ended the day with a 33-point gain at 3,569.62 compared to Tuesday's close of 3,535.80.
The S&P CNX Nifty gained six points to close at 1,157.
According to dealers, the Sensex fell about 10 points after the SC ruling but bounced back immediately.
"That it would not react to this kind of developments shows the maturity of the market,'' a dealer said.
According to him, the market withstood the 3,450-resistance level and that indicated an upward bias in the coming days.
However, it cannot be said that the markets are totally immune to the political developments.
There is some concern about VHP's next move and what could happen on Friday is definitely playing on traders' minds, what with the VHP maintaining that the SC ruling does not change its March 15 programme.
The foreign exchange and money markets also shrugged off the day's developments, with the rupee ending stronger at 48.72 against the US dollar compared to Monday's close of 48.745.
The VHP stand did give the market slight jitters in mid-day trade and the rupee slid a couple of rungs but bounced back by late trade.
Some bunched-up dollar inflows towards the end of the day also lent support to the rupee.
Dealers, however, said that the mood would remain cautious for a couple of days and players were wary of taking positions.
Forward premiums firmed up, but traders could not say whether it was because of the developments with regard to the Ayodhya issue.
Commodity markets too did not react to the developments. According to a commodities broker, the futures market normally gets a bit jittery on such developments.
"Since the futures market is mainly in export commodities, political unrest affects the movement of commodities which gets reflected in the futures market. Today, however, the markets were quiet,'' he said.
Commodity dealers were more worried about the transporters' strike on March 16, he added.
Petroleum product dealers, however, are taking precautions over the week-end.
According to Mr Ravi Shinde, President, Petrol Dealers' Association, fuel retailers are stocking up petrol and diesel as a precautionary measure.
The police in Mumbai, though, are on a general alert. Security has been strengthened near places of worship and other sensitive areas.
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