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Report card jitters halt stock march

Mumbai, Jan. 10: Dalal Street, perhaps, saw it coming ' the balancesheet blow. In a sense of foreboding, the sensex lost 138 points as it slid below the key threshold of 9500.

Investors waiting for big corporate scorecards ' Infosys reels off numbers on Wednesday ' dumped shares and left bourses on the edge for a possible figure fright.

And a scare it was ' Reliance profits fell steeper than most market mavens had expected, its bottomline shrinking 15 per cent in the most grubby set of numbers ever. The gloomiest forecast was a drop of 9 to 10 per cent.

By the time the company delivered the profit punch, no one was trading on holiday-bound exchanges, which now hope for an Infosys balm to soothe nerves jangled by Reliance.

The Bangalore bellwether, whose showing serves as a benchmark for other technology firms, is expected to toss up a profit spread topped up with exchange-rate sweeteners.

“Players wanted to be on the safer side. Apart from Reliance, they are also awaiting results from Infosys. The Infosys report card could be crucial since it is a major indicator for the performance of the entire technology sector,” said V. K. Sharma, head of research at Anagram.

Any appreciation in the value of the US greenback is seen as positive for the balance-sheets of infotech companies, which earn most of their revenues from exports. They also feel the company may raise its revenue forecasts for the fourth quarter and the year as a whole.

At the time of announcing its second quarter results, Infosys had projected that revenues during the third quarter would be between Rs 2,443 crore and Rs 2,452 crore.

Markets have come a long way from record highs last week, when expectations about robust third-quarter numbers reached a peak. Analysts have called the few results to have come out so far as a mixed bag, which could get better if the big daddies come through smartly.

The 30-share sensex, which scaled yet another all-time high of 9,689.68 on Monday, opened at 9584.47 and moved in a range of 9600.08 to 9418.63.

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