The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Selloff stocks lift market
- PM’s reassurance on reforms sparks PSU rebound

Mumbai, Oct. 7: The Prime Minister’s renewed commitment to disinvestment sent PSU shares racing today and helped the BSE sensex to a 22-point gain at 2952.78.

Oil majors HPCL and BPCL, seen as the biggest slices of the selloff cake, flared up over 14 per cent. While the former put on Rs 25.95 to close at Rs 206.10, the latter shot up by Rs 24.65 to finish at Rs 206.85. They were followed by other state-owned firms like Nalco, Bharat Electronics, Engineers India and SCI.

The Prime Minister said over the weekend that hard decisions, including privatisation of public sector companies, will be taken as part of tough reforms measures to achieve an 8 per cent annual growth rate during the Tenth Plan. “The PM’s statement and reports that a compromise formula is being worked out at the Centre gives us optimism. If we see moves made in the next few days, the markets could look up since valuations are attractive,” said an analyst working for a leading Mumbai brokerage.

The 30-share index opened a touch higher at 2939.18 and gradually moved up to touch its intra-day high at 2957.99 before ending at 2952.78, up 22.27 points over 2930.51 on Friday. It had plumbed a year’s low last week. The broad-based BSE-100 index firmed up 16.56 points to 1471.16 from its last close of 1454.60.

However, other stocks remained range-bound due to jitters over a host of negative factors, including the persistent threat of a US strike against Iraq, which has sent global markets reeling in the past several sessions. US bourses had wrapped up their sixth straight week of losses on Friday, while Tokyo tested a new 19-year low earlier today.

In the specified group, 110 shares, including 19 from the index, registered sharp to moderate gains; 55 ended with losses. The volume of business was relatively low at Rs 1196.53 crore from Rs 1234.77 crore on Friday.

Hindustan Petroleum was the top traded share with a turnover of Rs 126.11 crore. It was followed by Satyam (Rs 115.40 crore), Mastek (Rs 110.89 crore), Aftek Infosys (Rs 100.42 crore) and BPCL (Rs 89.16 crore).

Meanwhile, Sebi will call for information on price movements in HPCL and BPCL shares from exchanges to see why they gyrated so wildly in September. “These stocks have seen a sharp price movement and information would be sought on price patterns last month as part of monitoring,” Sebi said.

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