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Big boys’ day out in Friday frenzy

Mumbai, Jan. 2: Behind the markets’ big day was ONGC, the oil leviathan that dwarfs all others in stock value.

Always a coveted pick, the buying binge in its share today was triggered by reports that it was considering a stock split ahead of its trail-blazing flotation that will see the government sell 10 per cent to investors. At the close, it galloped a whopping 12 per cent.

Giving it company was Reliance Industries, though its gains were not as humungous as that of the PSU giant. The market buzz is that an ONGC share with a face-value of Rs 10 could soon be split into Rs 2 or Re 1 each. The objective: bring it within the reach of retail investors who cannot put in more than Rs 50,000 in an IPO.

The divestment of the government stake in ONGC would increase its floating stock, which could lead to a better weightage of the company in the BSE sensex. ONGC, with a market capitalisation in excess of Rs 1,00,000 crore, tops the list of companies in this category.

ONGC, which was the third top-traded counter on the Bombay Stock Exchange, opened at Rs 835 and shot up to a day's high of Rs 943 before closing at Rs 919.08, up around 12 per cent. The counter saw 13.81 lakh shares being traded compared with only 2.94 lakh shares yesterday. The total turnover in its shares today was placed at Rs 122.85 crore.

Though the rally was broad-based with front-line and second-line scrips being in the thick of action, Reliance, with a trading volume of over 38 lakh shares, was instrumental in driving the sensex to a historic close. Reliance was the top-traded share today on hopes of better performance in the third quarter. The share ended up by over 2.8 per cent at Rs 585.70 after opening at Rs 573 and rising to a day's high of Rs 589.70.

Brokers said while most of the other oil PSU stocks ended with sharp gains, the BSE-PSU index ended at an all-time high.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) were big buyers in cement, steel and aluminium shares apart from oil stocks. Jindal Strips was the top gainer, gaining 20 per cent to Rs 263.10 from Rs 219.25.

Brokers said reports of a price increase led to buying in steel and aluminium shares and an imminent hike in cement prices spurred buying in these shares.

In today's trading, the volume of business rose sharply to Rs 2870.45 crore from Rs 2124.46 crore yesterday. Reliance Industries topped the list of highest traded securities with a turnover of Rs 223.03 crore followed by Satyam Computer (Rs 154.61 crore), ONGC (Rs 122.85 crore), GTL Ltd (Rs 96.07 crore) and Tisco (Rs 89.79 crore).

Sebi bar

Sebi has barred two financial services firm operating out of Calcutta from trading in shares, and cautioned investors against dealing with them.

The two firms — Max Portfolios and Delta Alliance Financial Services — were offering portfolio management services and borrowing funds to deploy in the stock market.

While Delta advertised in newspapers that it could deliver more than 60 per cent in annual returns, Max offered 5 per cent monthly return on funds invested in stocks.

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