Sensex stays range-bound; closes 3 pts down

Mumbai, January 23: | Updated: Jan 24 2002, 05:30am hrs
The dull run on the bourses extended for the third successive day with the Sensex closing with small gains. Pharma and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) stocks closed higher negating weakness witnessed in software-stocks, but for the exception of HCL Technology, which rallied smartly after yesterday’s sharp plunge.

Dealers said that overnight sharp declines on the Nasdaq also led to supplies in software stocks from foreign funds and speculators. Software stocks, following a bullish run in the first two weeks of the month, are attracting profit booking and not so encouraging earning numbers. These factors have also put a lid on the movement of software stock prices. The Sensex, on Wednesday opened on a flat note at 3,368.91 points and moved in a narrow band of 3,397.76 (intra-day high) and 3,365.53 (the low) to finally close at 3,373.07 points up 4.79 points. However on the NSE, the S&P CNX Nifty closed down 3.45 points at 1,089.40 points.

Dealers said that market players are in search of direction and the market is likely to move in the range of 3,100 points to 3,500 points in the next couple of weeks.

Among the software stocks, Satyam closed down Rs 11.40 at Rs 267.75 and Infosys down Rs 102.70 at Rs 3,883.75 while HCL Technology closed up Rs 16.05 at Rs 248.95 after yesterday’s over seven per cent fall following below-than expectations results posted by the company.

Non-IT stocks which guided the market to close on a positive territory include, Ranbaxy closed up Rs 15.80 at Rs 755.60, Cipla up Rs 5.20 at Rs 1,130.25, HLL up Rs 4.50 at Rs 215.70 on defensive buying.

Two-wheeler major, Hero Honda extended its winning streak hitting a 52-week high again touching a high of Rs 346 but profit booking waned some of the gains and stock closed up around one per cent at Rs 339.90. Cement shares, ACC closed down 3.85 per cent at Rs 170.05 and L&T finished down 1.69 per cent at Rs 198.10.