The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Markets digest gains in run-up

Mumbai, Jan. 5: ITC, Infosys and State Bank of India (SBI) today gave the markets a leg-up just when the stock bandwagon had begun running out of some steam.

The feisty threesome helped the sensex close with a 12-point gain when it wound to 6039 points. This is the highest the Dalal Street barometer has gone. Eyes are now riveted at another peak — the NSE nifty’s march to 2000 points; today, the 50-share index finished at 1955.

State Bank rose on rumours that the government would relax the cap on foreign institutional investors’ stake in the largest commercial bank from the present 20 per cent.

Infosys Technologies, the nation’s number two software services exporter, was the other heavyweight that gained more weight on the hopes of strong third-quarter earnings. The Bangalore-based major will announce its third quarter results this Friday.

On Infosys’ numbers hinges the fate of other technology firms, whose stock potential is gauged by others in relation to the big players, say analysts. Already, the ADR markets in Nasdaq and NYSE saw many Indian stocks gain appreciably during the weekend.

ITC, another stock that propped up the sensex into positive territory, glowed on rising expectations that the court verdict on its excise duty dispute will go in its favour. The company has challenged the imposition of taxes to the tune of Rs 804 crore in the Supreme Court.

Pat for markets

In an acknowledgement of the potential of stock markets of developing countries, Standard Life Investments said the stock markets of Brazil, China, India and Russia could be as large as the combined markets of the world’s four top economies 46 years from now.

The agency’s research paper said FIIs upset over the increasingly low returns from developed economies could position increasingly for stronger gains elsewhere.

The report comes as stock indices in Brazil, India and Russia outperformed other markets in 2003. The sensex surged by 73 per cent in the last calendar year.

“An analysis of global economic trends suggests a profound shift in the balance of economic power and relative stock market size may lie ahead,” Michael Dow, head of emerging markets at Standard Life Investments, said.

Gold peaks

Gold and silver ended at all-time high of Rs 6,270 per 10 grams and Rs 9,605 per kg respectively. Bullion traders attributed the fresh demand to stockists’ buying along with poor arrival after firm overseas trends.

Pure gold opened firm at Rs 6,260 and rose further on increased demand before closing at Rs 6,270. It was a gain of Rs 25 over the last weekend close of Rs 6,245.

Standard gold opened at Rs 6,220 and, after rising further in line with pure gold, ended at Rs 6,230. It was gain of Rs 25 over the previous close of Rs 6,205. Ready silver crossed the Rs 9600-mark for the first time in history, closing at Rs 9,605, up Rs 60 over the last close of Rs 9,545.

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