Market holds gains on IT support
Tuesday, 03 June 2008

MUMBAI: The market remained firm backed by gains in information technology counters despite the rupee strengthening against the US dollar. Buying was seen in oil & gas stocks ahead of the likely fuel price hike this week, reports agency.

The decision to hike fuel prices was deferred last week due to differences between Petroleum and Finance Ministry on quantum of hike and cut in duties. Also the government wanted to take its allies into confidence before hiking the oil prices.

At noon, Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensex was up 144 points or 0.83 per cent to 16,560. The index touched a high of 16,632.72 and low of 16,486.53. National Stock Exchange's Nifty rose 0.1 per cent or 5 points to 4875.10, moving in a range of 4908.80 and 4868.15 in trade so far. The BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices were up 0.15 per cent and 0.46 per cent respectively.

"While the Nifty tries to wriggle out of the 4800-5160 range that it finds itself in, it must at all times trade above the 4800 mark, where a lot of puts have been written. Any close below the mark would trigger a cascade of sell orders. Technology counters should continue to be strong," said Anagram Stock Broking.

Investors booked profits in metal counters pushing the BSE Metal Index down 0.42 per cent. Sesa Goa (down 4.03%), Hindalco Industries (2.81%), Tata Steel (1.15%), Gujarat NRE Coke led declines.

Biggest index gainers were Jaiprakash Associates (up 3.54%), Satyam Computer (2.34%), State Bank of India (2.26%), ITC (2%), Maruti Suzuki (1.9%) and Infosys Technologies (1.46%).

Losers comprised Hindalco Industries (down 2.81%), NTPC (1.74%), Ambuja Cements (1.52%), Reliance Communications (1.23%), Cipla (1.11%) and Tata Steel (1.06%).

Meanwhile, oil prices were little changed below $128 a barrel on Monday, with traders tracking the dollar for direction as fleeting Tropical Storm Arthur marked the start of the Atlantic hurricane season, shutting two Mexican oil ports. US light, sweet crude oil futures were up 8 cents to $127.43 a barrel by 0403 GMT. Prices fell by nearly $5 last week as traders took profits from the previous week's record high above $135 on concerns over demand.

Punj Lloyd fell nearly 9 per cent after the engineering and construction firm posted a lower-than-expected 32 per cent rise in consolidated Jan-March net profit to Rs 118 crore. The shares have since trimmed losses to trade 4.7 per cent lower at Rs 305.85.

Maruti Suzuki India extended gains to Rs 787.30, up nearly 3 per cent, after India's top car maker reported a 16 per cent jump in sales to 69,001 units for May.

Hero Honda Motors jumped nearly 5 per cent while Bajaj Auto rose 7.6 per cent after the companies reported higher May sales. Hero Honda posted a 9.5 per cent rise in May sales to 312,317 units while Bajaj's vehicle sales rose 4 per cent. Hero Honda is trading 4.6 per cent up at 600.85 rupees while Bajaj is up 4.6 per cent at 601.10 rupees

Zandu Pharmaceutical Works hit a high of Rs 8,680 after Emami said it will make an open offer for 20 per cent more in Zandu, after raising its stake to 27.5 per cent. The stock was at Rs 8,610, up 6 per cent.

Sterlite Industries was up 1.7 per cent at Rs 951 after it agreed to buy operating assets of bankrupt US copper miner Asarco for $2.6 billion.

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