The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Saddam caged, markets break free
- Sensex closes in on 5400

Dec. 15: Shares sizzled a day after the US said it had captured Saddam Hussein as investors expecting improved global security stepped up purchases and operators set sights on overseas markets boosted by the coup.

The Bombay Stock Exchange sensex gained 75.07 points, or 1.41 per cent, at 5390.88 points. It was a new 44-month high, just shy of the 5400-mark. “It’s an incredible run as indices have gone up in five consecutive days,” said a broker. The 30-share index has shot up a whopping 5 per cent, or 260 points, in five days.

The winners were across the board: The likes of Bajaj Auto and Dabur shared space with Satyam and Infosys. Foreign funds continued to scoop up blue-chips. In the two weeks of this month, they have racked up 80 per cent of share-buying tally for last month, dealers said.

Gainers outnumbered losers by three to one on Dalal Street. In the specified group, 149 shares, including 19 from the index, were gainers; 43 were losers.

Reliance Industries edged up by Rs 8.30 to 499.10, HLL by Rs 6.10 to Rs 193.10 and Infosys by Rs 113.20 to Rs 5143.95. Bajaj Auto jumped Rs 30.60 to Rs 1040.95 on the back of a report by key brokerage house Motilal Oswal about how the company’s prospects will improve.

Grasim was also among the day’s winners, having gained Rs 36.70 to Rs 952.80, on the back of reports that cement prices were up. ITC was a big draw too, leaping Rs 29.60 to Rs 994.65.

Satyam Computers was up Rs 17.95 at Rs 361.15, but it was Dabur that carried the day with the highest percentage gain in the Nifty and putting on Rs 7.40 at Rs 83.90.

Global rally

US stocks rose as investors welcomed the capture of the former Iraqi president and anticipated a surge in consumer confidence before the holiday period.

By midmorning, the Dow industrials were up 76.07 points, or 0.76 percent, at 10,118.23. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 6.27 points, or 0.58 percent, at 1,080.41. Both indexes were at their highest levels since May 2002. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was up 16.39 points, or 0.84 per cent, at 1,965.39.

Earlier in the day, European shares hit new 2003 highs. Dollar-earning exporters were boosted by the firmer greenback and technology stocks rose ahead of results from Oracle.

The FTSE Eurotop 300 index of pan-European blue chips was 0.7 percent higher at 944 points while the narrower DJ Euro Stoxx 50 index rose 0.9 percent to 2,710 points.

“It’s the Saddam effect,” said John Hatherly, head of global analysis at M&G Asset Management.“But I think it will be shortlived. The firmer dollar is also a support.”

Japanese stocks soared, with the main Nikkei index finishing at 10,490.77 points, its highest close since November 10.

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