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Wednesday, Mar 27, 2002

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Technology stocks crumble; select PSUs up

B. Krishnakumar

AFTER a long weekend, the stock market closed on a weak note on Tuesday, extending its three-day loss to 3.2 per cent. The BSE Sensex ended the day at 3466.29, down 49.82 points or 1.42 per cent from Friday's close.

Trading volumes were by and large lower in stocks that closed on a weak note. As a result, the total business volumes at Rs 881.36 crore were sharply down on Tuesday in comparison to Rs 1,136 crore recorded on Friday.

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Software stocks led the pack of losers as the overnight weakness at the American bourses affected domestic market sentiment towards the sector. Led by concerns on earnings growth, technology stocks were battered during the day's trading.

The share price of Infosys declined by 4.6 per cent to close at Rs 3,669.90. The Satyam Computer stock lost 4.9 per cent to settle at Rs 260.95. Transaction volumes in both the counters were lower in comparison to Friday's trading.

Reflective of the underlying weakness, only five out of the 30 stocks forming part of Sensex managed to close on a positive note.

Hindustan Petroleum was prominent amongst the gainers. The scrip edged up Rs 2.85 to settle at Rs 289.70. Apart from Infosys and Satyam, ITC, Hindustan Lever and Reliance Industries were the other major losers from the stocks that form part of the Sensex. Reliance Industries saw its share price decline by 1.3 per cent to Rs 300.05.

Despite the overall weak sentiment, stocks from oil refinery and fertiliser sectors attracted buying interest on Tuesday. Companies such as HPCL, BPCL and Chennai Petroleum ended the day on a positive note. In the fertiliser sector, companies such as GSFC, GNFC, Chambal Fertiliser and National Fertiliser managed to close on a firm note.

The share price of BPCL moved up Rs 9.55 to close at Rs 316.50. The Chennai Petroleum stock hit the upper band of circuit filter by notching up a gain of 20 per cent. The increase in share price appears to have triggered reports of merger of the company with its parent — Indian Oil Corporation. Trading volumes in Chennai Petroleum counter surged to 3.56 lakh shares from 1.38 lakh shares recorded on Friday last.

Apart from State-owned oil refineries, select PSU stocks such as National Aluminium, Shipping Corporation and Hindustan Zinc and VSNL found a place in the list of prominent gainers. The share price of National Aluminium shot up by 6.89 per cent on the back of a sharp jump in trading volumes of 2.71 lakh shares (0.35 lakh shares)

Stocks from the cement sector were at the receiving end during the day's trading. Cement majors such as Grasim Industries, Larsen & Toubro and Gujarat Ambuja Cement were confined to the loser's list on Tuesday. ACC was, however, a noticeable absentee from this list. The share price of ACC managed to edge higher by Rs 1.55 to settle at Rs 152.35.

After a steady upmove in the recent weeks, the share prices of two-wheeler producers' have taken a beating in the past few days. The recent weakness was extended to Tuesday's trading as well. Top companies such as Bajaj Auto, Hero Honda and TVS Motor recorded sharp decline in their share price. The Bajaj Auto stock fell by Rs 13.05 to close at Rs 470.75.

The share price of Hero Honda closed at Rs 332.5, down 3.5 per cent from Friday's close of Rs 344.45. Trading volumes ebbed to 60,387 shares from 2.02 lakh shares recorded on Friday.

Mid-cap technology stocks that have been in the thick of action recently found no takers on Tuesday. After posting a steady rise in the recent days, stocks such as Subex Systems, Zensar Technologies, KPIT Infosystem and Mastek were pushed to lower levels during Tuesday's trading.

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