Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Jan 01, 2005
Columns - Sensor
Year 2004 ends on buoyant note
2004 could not have ended on a better note for investors and traders. Powered by the likes of Infosys Technologies, Reliance Industries and ICICI Bank, the benchmark BSE Sensex gained 80.15 points to finish the calendar year at 6602.69 points.
The Nifty put on 20.70 points to end at 2080.50 points.
In spite of the sharp correction in the markets in May this year, the Sensex has posted a gain of 13 per cent over the past one year. Incidentally, it also marked the fourth time in as many years that the Sensex has ended the last day of the calendar year in positive terrain.
Investors uncorked the champagne and raised a toast to the banking sector stocks as trading for 2004 drew to a close. That UCO Bank topped the volume charts for the day with an accretion of 10 per cent captures the flavour of the day. Almost without exception, stocks from this space sported a coat of black.
Large-cap stocks such as State Bank of India, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank closed the year with gains. So did stocks of several PSU banks such as Oriental Bank of Commerce, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda and Canara Bank, to name a few. Smaller banks such as Bank of Punjab, Bank of Maharashtra and United Western Bank, too, had a field day.
The associate banks of SBI - State Bank of Mysore, State of Bikaner and State Bank of Travancore - were also marked up to close a year when banking stocks, especially from the PSU suffered steep losses in May and June when the new government assumed office.
Emphasis on consolidation, brisk credit offtake and regulatory measures that were favourable to the sector have ensured that these stocks have recouped the losses; most of them have ended the year with attractive returns.
The other highlight of the trading day was the listing of Dwarikesh Sugar on a resounding note. The stock, which was offered at Rs 65, listed at a premium in excess of 100 per cent and closed the day at Rs 133.55. The other IPO of recent times - Bharati Shipyard - which was listed on Thursday on the BSE made its debut on the NSE and notched up one more day of impressive gains accompanied by massive volumes.
Buying by those who missed the IPO bus appears to be a factor even as there were no signs of flipping of the stock.
Two stocks from the media space, too, made the headlines. Balaji Telefilms' proposal to pay a dividend of Rs 16 per share was received well and the stock has risen by about 20 per cent in two trading sessions. The stock of New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) rose by 20 per cent and has decisively broken ranks with its peer in the news channel space, TV Today as far as investor preferences goes. During trading hours, there was no specific announcement that could have driven the upward trend. The rise is significant as it comes in a stock in which foreign investors are not allowed to invest.
It proposes to launch a business channel this month. Yet another stock that stood out was Orchid Chemicals and Pharma on a day when several pharma stocks closed in positive terrain ahead of a year that ushers in a new regulatory environment for the industry. Other pharma stocks that enjoyed a fine day at the office were Glenmark and Matrix Labs.
Stocks from the hospitality sector had a mixed outing. While the likes of Indian Hotels and TajGVK ended with gains, EIH, Oriental Hotels and Thomas Cook ruled weak. A similar trend was evident in the engineering sector stocks, too.
BHEL, Siemens, Bharat Electronics and Alfa Laval sported gains while ABB, Kirloskar Oil Engines, LMW and Eimco Elecon shed value. The star from this space was, however, Havell's India, which was marked up by 16 per cent.
Momentum stocks that continued their upswing were Zodiac Clothing, Gammon India, Astra Microwave, AstraZeneca, Mercator Lines and Sundaram Clayton. Other prominent gainers were Hindustan Motors, Essar Oil, MRPL, Motherson Sumi and Max India.
Notable on the sparsely- populated losers list were Zodiac JRD MKJ, Vishal Exports, Vindhya Telelinks, Kochi Refineries and MphasiS BFL.
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