The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Selloff jitters pound stocks, rupee hardens

Mumbai, Dec. 30: Dalal Street lost heart after a key Cabinet meeting left the task of finalising the sale of petroleum majors undone and the rumble of war-drums in West Asia became shriller amid strike preparations.

Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) led the decline, sending the BSE sensex to a 23-point loss at 3374.97. The 30-share index opened at 3389.12, down from the weekend close of 3398.00 and dropped to a low of 3359.76 before late-session short-covering helped it higher.

While public sector undertakings became victims of uncertainty over the sale of HPCL, lack of interest in other big names like Infosys, Satyam, Dr Reddy’s, ITC, MTNL, SBI and Telco also weighed down key indices. Even Attorney General Soli Sorabjee’s re-assurance that he would offer his opinion on the sale of oil companies soon was not enough to help state-owned firms.

In all, 115 stocks from the specified group, including 22 from the sensex, suffered losses; 79 shares finished with gains. The volume of business on BSE declined further to Rs 1074.27 crore from Rs 1132.93 crore.

Hindustan Petroleum was the day’s biggest loser, having shed Rs 15.10 to end at 289.25; MTNL lost Rs 4.50 to close at 94.65. Dredging Corp slid Rs 10.65 at Rs 288.85, BPCL fell Rs 5.90 at Rs 212.75, SCI surrendered Rs 2 at Rs 66.75 and GSFC declined by Rs 1.95 at Rs 25.50.

Rupee hits 47.92

The rupee today scaled yet another peak against the dollar following a rise in foreign exchange inflows and a weak greenback. Opening strong at 47.95/96 per dollar, the Indian currency hit an intra-day high of 47.9225, before closing at 47.9350/94 per dollar, a sharp rise over last Friday’s record high of 47.9900/9950.

Analysts said the Indian currency is set to gain further as the greenback continues to weaken and strong dollar supplies, particularly from NRIs, are expected to continue.

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