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Close: Markets end flat; records highest turnover since ‘07

Close: Markets end flat; records highest turnover since ‘07
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First Published: Tue, May 19 2009. 06 47 PM IST
Updated: Tue, May 19 2009. 06 47 PM IST
Mumbai: Indian shares climbed 0.1% on Tuesday, taking gains over two days to 17.5%, on hopes a stable coalition government would lead to privatisations, financial sector reforms and more infrastructure spending.
Trading was choppy through the session as investors took profits, but analysts said the near-term outlook was upbeat with many funds that had missed the rally waiting to jump in. But despite volatility, markets reported the highest ever turnover of Rs Rs1,57 trillion, last such gain was seen on 18 October, 2007.
Prime Minister-elect Manmohan Singh vowed on Tuesday to revive growth and spread the benefits of economic expansion that swept his coalition back to power with a decisive mandate in a general election.
The two-day percentage rise was the biggest since a 25.9% jump in March 1992 after Singh, who was then finance minister, unveiled a reform budget that opened the economy to foreigners.
State Bank of India and explorer ONGC extended the previous day’s sharp gains as traders bet the Congress party-led coalition may sell holdings in state companies to help fund spending plans and plug a large budget deficit.
Larsen & Toubro was a major gainer, adding 8.8% to Monday’s 25% jump, as investors expected the leading engineering conglomerate to benefit from a government drive to update the country’s creaking infrastructure.
However, outsourcers such as Infosys Technologies and Wipro that depend on exports for more than half their revenue fell as a jump in the rupee’s value against the dollar was seen affecting their profitability.
The 30-share BSE index, or Sensex, rose 0.12%, or 17.82 points, to 14,302.03, its highest close in more than eight months. The benchmark swung widely, rising as much as 4.5 percent and falling 3.1% at one stage. The 50-share NSE Nifty edged down 0.1% to 4,318.45.
“It is very important that some caution set in today,” said Hitesh Agrawal, head of research at Angel Stock Broking. “Yesterday was just an act of desperation as domestic and foreign funds had to catch up to the recent rally.”
Eighteen index stocks advanced, while in the broader section, gainers led losers in the ratio of more than 2.5:1 on heavy volume of 906.9 million shares.
On Monday, trading was restricted to just a few seconds after the benchmark jumped 17.3%, its biggest rise in almost two decades, triggered circuit breakers and shut down the market. Volume was paltry at about 13 million shares.
The index has gained 77.7% from 2009 lows in early March as foreign funds moved $4 billion into the market over the past two months. This has taken its gains for the year to 48 percent, after losing more than half its value in 2008.
Even though the surge has raised concerns the market may have become overbought, analysts predicted a steady rise over the long term.
Foreign funds will be encouraged to invest more with a stable government that is not shackled by former allies such as the communists, analysts said.
“Over the next nine to 12 months, the Sensex could reach anywhere between 14,750 to 16,000 on the upper end of the scale. If for some reason the market falls, 12,000 to 12,500 will be a very good support,” Agrawal said.
Top outsourcer Tata Consultancy Services shed 8.15% to Rs672.15, while No. 2 player Infosys eased 11.65% to Rs1,563.75.
The IT sector index lost 10.1% after putting on 11.4% on Monday. Software-services firms get most of their revenue in US dollars and a 3.2% surge in the rupee on Monday can hurt their profit margins.
Drug maker Ranbaxy Laboratories, which also depend on generic exports, fell 6.4 percent to Rs209.75.
Energy giant Reliance Industries, which has the most weight in the main index, fell 5.25% to Rs2,235.40 after soaring 20% on Monday.
State-run companies were fancied as the government was expected to jump-start asset sales that had been stalled by the ruling coalition’s former communist allies suffered a big defeat in the elections.
Initial public offerings by Indian companies are expected to end a 15-month drought and make a comeback, led by state-run firms.
Leading lender State Bank of India gained 11.2% to Rs1,754.45, while ONGC climbed 5.3% to Rs993.65.
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First Published: Tue, May 19 2009. 06 47 PM IST
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