The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Economy score bowls markets over

Mumbai, April 1: Stocks roared off the block in 2004-05 with a 150-point surge in the sensex, a day after the government dished out record quarterly growth figures.

Investors buoyed by the 10.4 per cent growth for the three months to December 2003 went on a shopping spree, filling their portfolios with shares of old-economy firms expected to benefit from a booming economy.

Apart from impeccable GDP numbers, investors who had deferred purchases in the last few days of March, came out in search of the best bargains on offer now.

Sebi figures showing foreign institutional investors poured Rs 639 crore into shares on Monday and Tuesday, also strengthened sentiment. Even technology stocks, hammered in recent weeks due to concerns over a rising rupee, clawed back on brisk buying. Infosys jumped Rs 168.95 to Rs 5107.10; Wipro and Satyam Computers also romped home with smart gains.

Analysts said many investors preferred to ignore the impact of an appreciating Indian currency as they went on a bargain-hunt for the best of technology stocks. This was also evident from the fact that there were five times as many gainers as losers on Dalal Street.

“Refund cheques to those who could not grab a slice of the recent public offers are trickling in. The amount is close to Rs 9,000 crore,” said an observer, suggesting that a large chunk of this money could be at play today. There were brokers who expect the equity markets to build on the surge, saying “rallies spawn rallies”.

The 30-share index opened on a promising note at 5599.12 and gradually moved to its intra-day high at 5750.29 before ending at 5740.85 against yesterday’s finish of 5590.60, an increase of 150.25 points, or 2.69 per cent.

Cement stocks notched up concrete gains, the buying fuelled by optimism that prices will be raised soon, dealers said. Auto companies were also in the fast lane, driven by robust monthly sales figures from Mahindra & Mahindra and Maruti Udyog. The country’s largest carmaker sold 13 per cent more in March.

Shares of public sector companies sizzled as well. MTNL gained Rs 9.70 to Rs 137.90 after Wednesday’s 8 per cent surge in its American Depository shares on Wall Street.

Reliance Industries caught the fancy of the market after reports it struck oil in two of its Bay of Bengal fields.

Among various indices, the bankex jumped 62.75 points or 2.10 per cent to 3055.65 from its last close of 2992.90. The BSE-IT index went up 40.87 points, or 2.41 per cent, to 1734.92 from 1694.05; the consumer goods index rose 80.19 points, or 3.51 per cent, to 2362.26 from 2282.07.

The volume of business on BSE was Rs 2062.79 crore, up from Rs 2000.40 crore on Wednesday. Reliance was the most active scrip with the highest turnover of Rs 202.66 crore.

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