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PSUs hold ground in sliding markets

Mumbai, Sept. 25: State-owned firms came out almost unscathed from a share-selling blizzard that barrelled across bourses today, sending the BSE sensex into a 59-point slide just a day after its spike stumped experts.

The losses snapped a two-day winning streak as operators squared off speculative positions, but it was the public sector companies that helped limit the damage. The rush to unwind ahead of the expiry of the September derivatives made the session extremely choppy.

Most PSU shares ended stronger, but there were some prominent exceptions: HPCL fell Rs 5.40 to Rs 351.20, Bhel surrendered Rs 6.25 to Rs 390.35 and IBP fell Rs 18.70 to Rs 849.35. However, their losses were modest in relation to the reverses suffered by other shares.

At the bottom of the PSU tide was the report that the government was considering an appeal for a review of the Supreme Court order asking it to secure approval from Parliament before selling BPCL and HPCL.

Among the big gainers were BPCL, whose share went up by Rs 14.05 to 348.35, SAIL, which jumped Rs 3.20 at Rs 36.60 and Shipping Corporation, which jumped to Rs 104.35.

ONGC flared up on reports that Opec will curtail production to keep crude prices firm. The stock was up Rs 6.25 at Rs 575.90 from Rs 569.65. Gail leapt on reports that Royal Dutch Shell was offering it a 15 per cent stake in a company that will drill for offshore gas in Egypt.

The BSE sensex closed at 4,297.15, down 1.35 per cent.

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