The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Worried markets brace for shutdown

Mumbai, Sept. 25: The country’s financial capital girded up for Thursday’s shutdown as markets overcame early jitters and investors scurried into safe-haven bets like gold amid fears of a backlash to the shrine outrage.

The nation-wide bandh, called by Shiv Sena and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, has forced the postponement of boardroom sessions and corporate events, besides sparking disruption worries. Even if trading is possible, operators feel volumes will be poor and participation thin. The final settlement of futures and options on BSE and NSE, expiring on September 26, has been extended by a day.

Companies like Castrol India have decided to cancel the press conference scheduled for Thursday, while scores of others, such as drug majors Parke Davis and Pfizer, have put off board meetings slated for Thursday.

The bullion market sprung back to life with gold taking on a new sparkle. Prices soared by Rs 25 per 10 grams to Rs 5325 from Tuesday’s close of Rs 5300; ten-tola gold bar jumped by Rs 300 to Rs 62,450 from Rs 62,150; silver rose in tandem, by Rs 10 per kg.

Fears of fresh bouts of communal violence, possibly as a fallout of Tuesday’s dastardly attack on a Gandhinagar temple, drained gold hoards and much of the price spurt was the result of panic purchases, dealers said.

Earlier, the sensex opened the session lower at 2973.97, down 48 points from previous close of 3022.25, as the financial markets tried to get a grasp on the situation. A recovery followed when investors decided to close their open positions and the two key bourses declared a day’s extension in derivative settlement cycle. The 30-share barometer recouped its initial losses in a rebound fuelled by smart advances in heavyweights like Infosys, Satyam, HCL, Zee,Ranbaxy and Dr Reddy’s.

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