The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 52.49 points or (0.38 per cent), at 13,619.7. It had opened lower, at 13,538.71, and slumped to a low of 13,423.64, tracking weak global markets. However, the barometer index begun retrieving lost ground and had even touched a high of 13,658.11, after buying resumed.
The S&P CNX Nifty declined 13.95 points or (0.35 per cent), to 3,997.65.
The market stayed weak as selling continued in the late-afternoon session of trades. However, strong buying began in the late-afternoon, helping the market wipe out the earlier sharp losses.
Global markets underwent a steep correction. All European as well as Asian indices were trading with losses.
The market-breadth, an indication of the market's health, was weak as well. A host of stocks from the smallcap and mid-cap space faltered. For 1,341 stocks that declined on BSE, 1,179 advanced. In morning trade, the breadth was weak, but had recovered to unity. However, the breadth collapsed once again later. A total of 97 scrips have remained unchanged.
The BSE Mid-Cap Index settled at 5,652.08 while the BSE Small-Cap Index closed at 6,905.29, both without much of a change.
The BSE cash turnover was Rs4,158.52 crore while the total market wide turnover was Rs45893.6 crore.
Among the 30-Sensex pack, 16 advanced while the rest declined.
Cement major ACC was down 4.16 per cent to Rs782.75, despite reporting a surge of 54.5 per cent in net profit for Q1 March 2007. ACC was the top loser, clocking volumes of 8.07 lakh shares. The cement firm reported a surge in net profit in the March 2007 quarter to Rs363.75 crore from Rs235.42 crore in the March 2006 quarter. Net sales surged 26.1 per cent to Rs1674.83 crore from Rs1327.52 crore. Firm prices of cement, a key construction commodity, boosted the company's results, which trickled in some time back. The companyís board also approved sale and transfer of RMX Business, to ACC Concrete, a new, wholly-owned, subsidiary which has been incorporated for the purpose.
HDFC (down 2 per cent to Rs1563.50), Bajaj Auto (down 2.08 per cent to Rs2445), Bhel (down 1.82 per cent to Rs2507.50) and ONGC (down 1.49 per cent to Rs892) were the other losers.
Frontline software stocks slipped on profit-booking. The BSE IT Index was the top-loser among sectoral indices. It lost 75 points (1.5 per cent). Infosys (down 1.82 per cent to Rs 2040), Wipro (down 0.38 per cent to Rs584), Satyam Computers (down 2.56 per cent to Rs449.80) and TCS (down 0.16 per cent to Rs1244.95) dropped.
Larsen & Toubro (L&T) gained 0.39 per cent to Rs1666, on reports that the company had plans for facilities in China. The facilities being planned are for machines, switchgear, valves, tyre-curing and pressing and coal gassification. Larsen & Toubro plans to source the raw material required for forgings and castings for its manufacturing bases in India. Further, the firm is planning an initial investment of $ 11 million to introduce new products in the Chinese market.
Index heavyweight Reliance Industries (RIL) rose 0.24 per cent to Rs1490, on a volume of 13.87 lakh shares. The scrip had recovered from a low of Rs1462, and surged to a high of Rs1499.50, an all-time high. RIL has scheduled a meeting of the board of directors on April 26, 2007, to consider the unaudited financial results for the quarter & year ended March 2007. Also, as per a report in a newspaper, RIL has discovered significant quantities of gas in an offshore block in Saurashtra, Gujarat. RIL is the operator of the block with a 70 per cent stake, while Oil India has the remaining 30 per cent stake.
Gujarat Ambuja Cements was the top-gainer, up 1.81 per cent to Rs115, on a volume of 17.18 lakh shares.
State-run State Bank of India (SBI) gained 1.70 per cent to Rs1053, on a volume of 9.05 lakh shares. The state-run lender had surged sharply from a low of Rs1014, to a high of Rs1062.40. The Cabinet yesterday approved changes in a banking law to impart greater operational freedom to SBI's subsidiaries, a government spokeswoman said. After the news, shares of three such SBI subsidiaries — State Bank of Mysore (up 10 per cent), State Bank of Travancore (up 5 per cent) and State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur (up 1.49 per cent) advanced. Four other subsidiaries were not listed on the stock exchanges. It may be recalled that in May 2006, the government moved a bill in Parliament proposing the reduction of State Bank of India's stake in its seven subsidiaries to 51 per cent each from the mandated level of 55 per cent. Amendments were also proposed to ease restrictions on fund-raising and individual share ownership. There was also a move to raise the voting rights of investors in SBI's subsidiaries from the existing 1 per cent to 10 per cent.
Helped by SBI and ICICI Bank, the BSE Bankex settled 0.6 per cent higher, at 6,848.85.
Cigarette major ITC advanced 1.24 per cent to Rs159, on volumes of 15.32 lakh shares.
Auto counter Hero Honda (up 1.10 per cent to Rs656) and Maruti Udyog (up 1.47 per cent to Rs779) were the other gainers.
ICICI Bank moved higher by 1.52 per cent to Rs910.55, and recovered from an initial 2.98 per cent drop to Rs870.10. According to a news report, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to permit Temasek and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) to raise their stakes in the private bank to 10 per cent each. Temasek holds 7.41 per cent stake in ICICI Bank and Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) 2.29 per cent. The two cannot currently buy more shares of ICICI Bank since their combined stake already stands at almost 10 per cent, the limit for a single foreign institutional investor (FII) in one company.
When we choose to look away for good, we are as complicit as those at the helm of this atrocity
Over 100 people in Lebanon have been reported killed during the hostilities started on October 7