Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Cement scrips hardened in afternoon trade boosted by reports that cement makers have hiked prices in Mumbai - the key market

Grasim, which surged 3.3% to Rs 1,163, was the top gainer among cement
pivotals. ACC rose 2.5% to Rs 463.15, Gujarat Ambuja Cements (GACL) rose
2.4% to Rs 71.55 and UltraTech Cement gained 1% to Rs 415.

GACL rose on high volume of 10.9 lakh shares. 1.3 lakh shares changed hands
in ACC, 15,645 shares got traded in Grasim and 14,640 shares changed hands
in UltraTech Cement.

Cement shares had remained relatively firm in the past one month or so when
the market underwent a major correction with the Sensex tumbling over 1000
points. This was because cement makers had raised prices by about Rs 5 per
bag at the beginning of October 2005 to take advantage of a seasonal pick-up
in demand after the June-September monsoon season.

Following the latest price hike, the retail cement prices would rise to Rs
180 per 50-kg bag in Mumbai while those for institutional and bulk buyers
would be about Rs 165 per bag.

ACC, Gujarat Ambuja Cements, UltraTech Cement and Grasim Industries are the
major cement suppliers in Mumbai.

Analysts expect cement prices to remain firm over the next couple of years
or so as no major capacity expansion is expected to go on stream during that
period thereby restricting supply pressure.

3i Infotech jumped 4% to Rs 122 after the company said it had acquired US based software company FormulaWare

1.6 lakh shares changed hands in the counter on BSE by afternoon trade.

FormulaWare specialises in software aimed at the chemical and paint
industries. 3i Infotech did not indicate the cost of the acquisition, but
said it planned to expand its offerings to the lubcricants, paint, inks and
glues industries.

This is the second US acquisition announced by 3i Infotech in less than two
months. In late September 2005, 3i Infotech acquired Innovative Business
Solutions - a US based specialty IT solutions company - for $ 3.6 million.

Over the years, 3i Infotech (earlier ICICI Infotech) has transformed itself
from the back office of ICICI Bank to a software products-cum-services
company focused on the banking, financial services and insurance field.

Sensex moves past 8,000; L&T spurts

The market firmed up further in mid-afternoon trade with the Sensex moving
past the psychological 8,000 barrier. Firmness in most emerging markets in
Asia and the US supported domestic bourses after a small 25 basis points US
interest rate rise that pleased investors by allaying fears of bigger hikes
in future. The US Federal Reserve did not signal more aggressive hikes in
future, which could lure capital away from high-yielding but relatively
riskier emerging markets.

Steel shares bounced back from the lower levels after sliding in early trade
on reports that they had cut hot rolled coil prices by Rs 500 per tonne.
Select construction stocks surged in mid-afternoon trade.

PSU telecom services firm MTNL spurted. ITC edged higher for the third day
in a row. Software shares recovered from the lower level. Cement scrips held
firm on the back a latest price hike.

PSU banks recovered from the lower level.

Though market breadth was weak, it improved by mid-afternoon trade. 1,169
stocks declined on BSE as compared to 1,070 stocks that rose. 48 scrips were
unchanged. Losers outpaced gainers by a ratio of 1.09:1. This ratio was
about 1.4:1 in afternoon trade.

At 14:30 IST, the Sensex was up 79 points at 8,023. The Sensex hit a high of

The Sensex bounced back from the day’s low of 7,891.23.

MTNL jumped 6% to Rs 119.25. 5.1 lakh shares changed hands in the counter on
BSE. As per reports in a section of the media, the Department of
Telecommunications (DoT) is exploring the option of a quasi merger of BSNL
and MTNL. The plan involves forming four regional wireline companies, a
mobile operator and an infrastructure company from BSNL. The four regional
wireline companies would be BSNL North, BSNL East, BSNL South and BSNL West.
Under the plan, MTNL’s wireline operations in Delhi would merged with BSNL
North and the Mumbai operations will be merged with BSNL West. The mobile
operations of BSNL, along with that of MTNL, would be transferred to a
separate company, BSNL Mobile thus giving the public sector units a
pan-India mobile footprint, reports suggest

Engineering and construction major L&T jumped 5.4% to Rs 1,496. 1.4 lakh
shares changed hands in the counter on BSE.

Cement shares were in demand. Grasim gained 3.5% to Rs 1,165, Gujarat Ambuja
Cements gained 2.7% to Rs 71.75 and ACC advanced 2.5% to Rs 463.50. As per
reports, cement firms have raised prices by Rs 5 per 50 kg bag in the key
Mumbai market. Following the latest price hike, retail cement prices would
rise to Rs 180 per 50-kg bag in Mumbai while those for institutional and
bulk buyers would be about Rs 165 per bag.

Housing finance major HDFC gained 3.5% to Rs 1,003. The stock recovered on
renewed buying interest after a steep recent fall in the counter.

Dr Reddy’s Lab gained nearly 3% to Rs 847. Dr Reddy’s Lab reported a
better-than-expected 72% growth in Q2 September 2005 net profit as per US
GAAP to Rs 89 crore (Rs 51.70 crore). Revenue rose 7% to Rs 580 crore.

Steel major Tisco rose 1.4% to Rs 345. The stock bounced back from the day’s
low of Rs 331.20. 9.4 lakh shares changed hands in the counter on BSE.

Index heavyweight Reliance Industries (RIL) advanced 0.8% to Rs 772.95. 12.3
lakh shares changed hands in the counter on BSE.

Hindustan Zinc surged 3.4% to Rs 225 on reports in a section of the media
that it has effected a steep hike in zinc prices


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