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February 20, 1999


Budget-cautious operators keep market steady; Sensex up 17 points to 3354.92, Nifty up six points to 976.30

Political uncertainty at the Centre forced marketmen to take a cautious approach and prevented them from staging any big pre-Budget rally at the Bombay Stock Exchange during the week ended February 19.

The Sensex of the Bombay Stock Exchange crossed the psychological barrier of 3400-mark during one of the intra-day trading sessions during the week but witnessed narrow movement during the week under review.

Reflecting the trend, the 30-scrip BSE Sensex rose by 17.43 points to 3354.92 points as against last week's close of 3337.49 points.

Similarly, the broad-based BSE-100 index gained by 11.33 points to 1479.45 points from the previous week's close of 1468.12 points.

Opening the week on a bearish note, the market witnessed a mixed trend during the week with limited buying support from foreign institutional investors in the current market favourite counters.

While domestic financial institutional investors pressed sales in the index-based counters, market witnessed downward movement in the two of the five trading sessions and an upward movement in three sessions.

The withdrawal of support by the Omprakash Chautala's Lok Dal to the BJP-led coalition government at the Centre forced marketmen to adopt wait-and-watch attitude since it happened a few days before the presentation of the Budget.

Petroleum scrips like Reliance and IPCL, Glaxo and Ranbaxy in pharma were the choice of the FIIs during the week while the scrips like Satyam Computer, Pentafour Software and NIIT witnessed bear hammering in a couple of trading sessions. The domestic institutional investors have reportedly pressed sales in the index-based scrips like Telco, Tisco, Tata Tea.

The FIIs also made moderate purchases in the engineering giant L&T, dealers said.

It was on Thursday, the Sensex crossed the 3,400 mark and touched the intra-day high of 3406.28 but failed to maintain a higher level and closed at 3,351.05 points.

The BSE-200 and Dollex indices advanced by 3.13 and 1.29 points to 342.73 and 134.45 points as against the last week's close of 339.60 and 133.16 points respectively.

Total turnover on the BSE rose moderately by Rs 7.23 billion to Rs 81.94 billion as against the last week's total turnover of Rs 74.71 billion.

The scene on the National Stock Exchange was not much different. Pivotals witnessed moderate gains in a mixed trend. Reflecting the trend, the S&P CNX Nifty Index gained by 6.05 points to 976.30 points as against the last week's close of 970.25.

The S&P CNX Midcap index rose smartly by 36.35 points to 1774.10 points from the previous week's close of 1737.75 points. The CNX Defty also advanced by 5.55 points to 797.50 points from the last week's close of 791.95 points.

The CNX-500 and CNX Midcap closed higher by 9.09 and 18.81 points to 683.20 and 617.93 points from the previous week's close of 674.11 and 599.12 points respectively.


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