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Bout of Budget cramps

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Our Markets Bureau  |  Mumbai 

The government's report card on Economy, the Economic Survey 2004-05, failed to enthuse the market as players preferred to wait for the Union Budget for direction.
Selling pressure in mid-cap counters and select blue chips was seen as sentiment remained subdued. Investors stayed away from taking big calls on the market before the Union Budget, brokers said.
The benchmark Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Sensex closed lower on Friday. Consumer durables, FMCG, auto and banking counters were among the biggest losers of the day. Select capital goods, PSU and technology counters recorded some gains.
In the BSE Sensex basket, 18 out of the 30 scrips closed lower. The breadth of the market was negative, with losers outpacing gainers 2:1.
Brokers said that the Economic Survey, tabled in the Parliament on Friday, which projected the FY 2004-05 GDP growth at 6.9 per cent, called for more reforms and raised expectations of moderate interest rates, but failed to whet the investors appetite.
Mehraboon Irani, vice-president - equity at Darashaw Broking said, "usually don't react to the Economic Survey in a big way. Investors are sitting on cash, waiting for the Budget to possibly provide opportunities to buy."
Moving in a range of 79 points, the BSE Sensex hit a high of 6622.62 and a low of 6543.91 in the intra day trades before closing at 6569.72, down 4.49 points (0.07 per cent) from Thursday's close.
Volumes were lower than on Thursday in the cash segments of the bourses with the BSE reporting a turnover of Rs 2,191.96 crore and the NSE reporting a turnover of Rs 4,941.14 crore.
Hero Honda was the biggest loser in the Sensex basket, falling 2.99 per cent to close at Rs 520.50, followed by Reliance Energy, down 2.09 per cent to Rs 551.10, Zee Telefilms fell 2.07 per cent to Rs 144.40, HDFC was down 1.85 per cent to Rs 757.20 and HLL was down 1.65 per cent to Rs 140.50.
ONGC was the biggest gainer in the Sensex basket, rising 3.10 per cent to close at Rs 842.35, Bharti Tele-Ventures was up 2.97 per cent to Rs 219.85, L&T gained 2.23 per cent to Rs 1081.85, Ranbaxy was up 1.83 per cent to Rs 1019.80 and Hindalco was up 1.42 per cent to Rs 1394.60.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Indian shares worth Rs 41 crore on Thursday as per data from the Securities and Exchange Board of India website.
Strong buying support from foreign funds has helped the market record gains but the undertone of the market is cautious as a lack of active domestic participation in the last few weeks has raised concerns, market entities said.

First Published: Sun, February 27 2005. 00:00 IST
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