Sensex up 123 points

Mumbai, Nov 29 | Updated: Nov 30 2004, 06:00am hrs
Sustained buying by foreign institutional investors (FIIs), which remain bullish on the future of Indias economic reform, lifted the benchmark 30-share BSE Sensex to an 11-month high on Monday.

The Sensex gained 2.03% or 122.74 points to settle at its second best all-time close of 6,157.77. Prior to this, the BSE Sensex settled at an all-time high close of 6,194.11 on January 14, 2004.

Hemang Raja, CEO, IL&FS Investmart, said, The mood in the market appeared extremely bullish on the back of sustained FII flows. The positive indication from the government to scrap Press Note 18, and the lack of any further negative news on the Reliance front, helped lift the market today.

The market opened a tad lower at 6,033.42 on the back of selling in Reliance Industries. Lack of fresh negative news on the Ambani front, together with sustained buying in other counters like steel, automobiles, technologies and cement, soon lifted the Sensex steadily to a high of 6,166.72, before it closed the day at 6,157.77. The broader 50-share S&P CNX Nifty index gained 38.60 points or 2.03% to settle at 1,939.65.

The combined turnover recorded on The Stock Exchange, Mumbai (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was at Rs 7,421.24 crore, compared to Thursdays Rs 7,995.45 crore.

FIIs pumped in Rs 529.60 crore on Thursday last, compared to Wednesdays (November 24) inflow of Rs 279.10 crore. The inflow of $6.86 billion in the current calendar has been the highest-ever in any year. In 2003, the FIIs poured in $6.66 billion.

Paresh Khandwala, director, Khandwala Securities, said: Proactive measures by the government have helped lift the markets. The ongoing reform process, the sustained inflow of funds as well as high anticipation from budget 2005 are all helping keep the market firm, said Mr Khandwala.

The breadth of the market was also positive, with advances outpacing declines in the ratio of 2:1. Of the total 2,458 stocks traded on the BSE, there were 1,597 gainers and 797 losers.

All the Reliance group stocks bounced back after a weak opening. As a result, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) ended 1.24% higher at Rs 509.8. Reliance Energy Ltd (REL) rose 1.13% to Rs 555.3, IPCL jumped 2% to Rs 178.85, Reliance Capital up 0.73% to Rs 137.25 and Reliance Industrial Infrastructure surged 1.91% to Rs 74.55. The total turnover of RIL on both bourses accounted for 19% of the total combined turnover of the two exchanges, NSE and BSE.

Hopes of a rise in product prices, coupled with good sales in the festive season lifted automobile, cement and steel stocks.

Among automobile stocks, Tata Motors (up 5.56% to Rs 490.65), Maruti Udyog (up 5.66% to Rs 419.75) and Hero Honda Motor (up 1.92% to Rs 482.25) gained further ground on sustained buying on hopes of strong festive-season sales.

Among steel and cement stocks, Tata Steel (up 3.83% to Rs 322.80), ACC (up 1.2% to Rs 290.45) and Gujarat Ambuja Cements (up 1.71% to Rs 371.05) gained ground on sustained buying interest on expectations of an imminent hike in steel and cement prices.

Banking stocks also hogged the limelight after State Bank of India on Saturday raised interest rate on home loans for a tenure of 15-20 years by 0.25 basis points to 9.25% from 9%. The stock of countrys biggest commercial bank ended 2.44% higher at Rs 524.95. ICICI Bank (up 5.19% to Rs 336.50) also ended in positive territory.

Other heavyweights, Hindustan Lever (up 3.42% to Rs 140.55), ONGC (up 1.18% to Rs 805.50) ITC (up 1.15% to Rs 1,290.15), Infosys Tech (up 2.94% to Rs 2,090.85) and Satyam Computer (up 1.84% to Rs 432.25) also contributed significantly to the gains of the Sensex.