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Banks & markets take day off

Mumbai, July 27: Reliance Industries and Tata Steel braved the deluge today but banks and stock exchanges are not willing to take a chance.

Marooned Mumbaiís premier stock exchanges ' the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange ' have decided not to trade tomorrow after banks announced they would stay shut and the state government extended its holiday for the second day running.

The stock exchanges said they had decided to keep the settlement process in abeyance as dealers and investors would be in a spot with banks not working. In several places, ATMs had stopped working today.

At the BSE, trading volumes were thinner by 35 per cent. But the sensex closed above the 7605.03 mark, another historic peak on a day the city is half under water.

Leading brokerages HDFC Securities and ICICI Securities and a few FII brokerages have, however, asked dealers to be available close to their offices as tomorrow is the penultimate day before the derivatives settlement at the bourses.

Some dealers said they had been working out of five-star hotels in south Mumbai for the last two days.

Although Mukesh Ambani chaired a meeting of Reliance Industriesí board this morning and announced profits for the first quarter, the company said its Patalganga factory was inundated and had been shut down.

Tata Steel, too, went ahead with its scheduled shareholder meeting but attendance was thin.

Several companies have decided to postpone meetings scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday. Some of them are Asian Paints, Arvind Mills, Gujarat Ambuja, IDBI, BPCL and Sterlite Opticals.

Bharti Televentures decided to offer subscribers a sop, allowing all post-paid users to call any local number free for a day starting 5 pm this evening.

However, many complained that lines were still jammed.

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