The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Markets off to a flying start

Mumbai, April 1: The sensex gave the new financial year a 112-point salute, closing above the key threshold of 6600 points on expectations of robust corporate earnings.

The march to the day's high of 6506.60 was punctuated by bouts of volatility but the index still ended 1.73 per cent higher than its last close of 6492.82. It was the second straight day of gains of over 100 points in the gauge, which has rallied 237.18 points in three days.

On the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the 50-share nifty opened at 2035.90 and peaked at 2071.20 before closing at 2067.65 compared with its previous close of 2035.65.

Market watchers said the buying was fuelled by hopes that corporate India will come out with impressive fourth-quarter numbers. With the economy in good shape, it would help draw more cash from foreign institutional investors (FIIs) in the new financial year. These investors made record purchases in the last calendar year. On Thursday, the Securities and Exchange Board of India's (Sebi) figures showed their investments at Rs 358.60 crore. In the three months of this year, they have pumped in Rs 16,693 crore ($3.80 billion).

Today's buying, which came despite firm crude prices, saw investors chase both large and mid-cap shares.

Reliance stocks were top draws, helped by fresh rumours of a settlement between the Ambani brothers. Flagship Reliance Industries flared up by Rs 18.45 to Rs 564.40 after opening at Rs 545 and hitting a high of Rs 567; Reliance Energy shares jumped Rs 10.55 to Rs 540.50.

Banking stocks, one of those that directly benefit from strong economic growth and rosier corporate scorecards, were among the day's best performers in the market. That optimism rubbed off heavily on ICICI Bank and State Bank.

However, some market movers like Infosys, Zee Telefilms, ONGC, HDFC and Hero Honda suffered mild setbacks because operators resorted to bouts of profit taking.

The volume of business on Dalal Street fell sharply to Rs 1884.77 crore today from Rs 2201.98 crore on Thursday. Reliance Industries notched up a turnover of Rs 113.63 crore, followed by SBI (Rs 89.00 crore), Tata Steel (Rs 71 crore) and Satyam (Rs 44.32 crore).

Among other indices, the BSE-200 index and the dollex-200 closed at 883.05 and 336.04 compared with their previous close of 867.58 and 330.16, respectively. The BSE-500 index firmed up 52.04 points to 2786.70 from Thursday's close of 2734.66, while the dollex-30 ended higher at 1239.48 from 1218.42. In the specified group, 161 scrips, including 25 index-based counters, registered sharp to moderate gains.

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