Monday, November 29, 1999

Sensex closes 154 points higher as RIL, L&T stocks surge

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Mumbai, June 17 (PTI) Extending its gains for the seventh consecutive session today, the benchmark Sensex closed 154 points higher on heavy buying at RIL and L&T counters, supported by firm European cues. The Bombay Stock Exchange''s 30-share barometer, which was inching upwards during the first half of the session, spurted after European stocks edged higher and closed at 17,616.69, up 153.82 points, or 0.88 per cent. In the afternoon session, the Sensex took a hit and touched a low of 17,394.90 on rumours that a US brokerage firm has filed a USD 1 billion law suit against ICICI Bank. However, it recovered shortly thereafter as European markets opened in the positive zone, with fag-end buying in index heavyweights translating into concrete gains, brokers said. Shares of ICICI Bank fell 3.5 per cent in intra-day trade on the BSE due to the rumours, but bounced back soon after the bank said there was no substance to the reports. ICICI Bank settled in the green at Rs 884.05, up 0.74 per cent. The National Stock Exchange''s 50-share Nifty Index ended at 5,274.85, up 0.79 per cent. "A number of large Sensex constituents are looking strong that gives an indication that markets are ready for the next upmove, if the global scenario does not give a big surprise," domestic brokerage Reliance Securities said in a note. Ahead of its annual general meeting, Reliance Industries rose 1.22 per cent to Rs 1,073.22, on hopes that Mukesh Ambani may unveil some big announcements tomorrow. The country''s most valued firm, which carries the maximum weight on the benchmark indices, has been on a rising streak. After telecom, Mukesh Ambani-led RIL is looking to enter the power sector and may bid for ultra mega-power projects in Chhattisgarh and Orissa, sources have said. "Market sentiment was positive on hopes of a blockbuster AGM of RIL, where some big announcement is likely to be made public," Networth Stock Broking Head of Institutional Sales & Strategy Prakash Diwan said. Investors also heaved a sigh of relief after food inflation eased to 16.12 per cent for the week ended June 5 from 16.74 per cent in the previous week, raising hopes of moderation in the price-line, as indicated by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. .

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