Friday Closing Report: Next support at 18,900

The housing loan scam continued to haunt the market for the second day in a row. While the market opened firm, news reports about the developments saw the indices drifting lower in post-noon trade.

The market opened with modest gains but slipped into the red as tainted stocks in the recent housing loan scam were pummelled. The BSE Realty index was the worst hit in trade today. A feeble recovery attempt in the post-lunch session was thwarted by a minor sell-off leading to range-bound trading near the neutral line. The losses expanded in the late session with the key indices shedding around a percent each at the end of the session.

The Sensex gave up 181.55 points (0.94%) to close at 19,136.61. The index touched an intraday high of 19,417.61 and a low of 19,954.82. The Nifty ended at 5,751.95, down 47.80 points (0.82%) from its previous close. The index touched a high of 5,828.55 and a low of 5,690.35 today.

The losers outnumbered the gainers in trade. The Sensex had 24 decliners while six stocks ended in the green. The Nifty closed with 35 stocks in the red while 15 stocks advanced. The broader indices bore the brunt of the sell-off today with the BSE Mid-cap index tanking 3.06% and the BSE Small-cap index tumbling 4.49%.

The top Sensex gainers were TCS (up 2.14%), Cipla (up 1.61%), State Bank of India (up 1.16%), Tata Power (up 1.15%) and ICICI Bank (up 0.68%). On the other hand, Jaiprakash Associates (down 8.04%), Reliance Infrastructure (down 6.59%), Reliance Communications (down 5.51%), Sterlite Industries (down 3.62%) and Tata Motors (down 3.30%).

BSE Realty (down 4.68%) was the top loser in the sectoral space. It was followed by BSE Consumer Durables (down 3.90%), BSE Metal (down 2.54%), BSE Power (down 2.13%) and BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (down 1.92%). There were no green ticks in the sectoral space today.

Markets in Asia settled lower as North Korea toughened its stand following military exercises by South Korea and on speculations that China might reduce the target for new lending next year. Investor sentiment was also down on account of subdued opening by key European indices.

The Shanghai Composite declined 0.92%, the Hang Seng was down 0.77%, the Jakarta Composite shrank 1.61%, the KLSE Composite fell 0.30%, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.40%, the Seoul Composite tanked 1.34% and the Taiwan Weighted declined 0.45%. On the other hand, Straits Times ended flat.

Market watchdog Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has initiated a probe into possible front-running and insider trading in shares of over two dozen companies, including some blue chips, by entities and persons involved in the housing finance scam unearthed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The initial findings, when corroborated with the charges made by the CBI, indicate large-scale front-running deals or shares being purchased or sold in these companies on the basis of prior knowledge about investment decisions being made by large institutional investors, a senior SEBI official said.

Markets in the US were closed overnight for the Thanksgiving Day holiday and will have a truncated session today.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of stocks worth Rs1,208 crore on Thursday. Domestic institutional investors were net buyers of equities worth Rs197 crore on the same day.

As a fall-out of the housing loan scam, realty stocks were hammered in trade today. Ackruti City tumbled 13.38%, Orbit Corporation slumped 13.08%, Indiabulls Real Estate was down 11.88%, DB Realty gave up 9.99% and Phoenix Mills shed 5.54% today.

Adani Group promoted Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone (MPSEZ) (up 1.69%) today signed an agreement to develop a non-LNG cargo facility at Hazira port in South Gujarat, a company official said.

The master plan of the port provides 12 berths to be developed in a phased manner. The cargo handling operations are likely to commence by 2013, a company statement said.

Seismic services provider Alphageo India (down 3.54%) has announced that it has received a contract from Essar Oil for acquisition of seismic data in the state of Assam. The contract is valued at Rs12 crore.


Volkswagen India appoints John Chacko as president

Volkswagen Group announced the appointment of John Chacko as the new group chief representative, president and managing director of Volkswagen India Pvt Ltd, with effect from 1st December.

Mr Chacko (58) had played a significant role in the India operations of the group as the technical managing director of Volkswagen India, the company said in a release. He succeeds Joerg Mueller (48), who has recently moved on to a new responsibility at the newly formed Volkswagen Group Trucks Division.

An engineer with a B-Tech degree from IIT Madras, Mr Chacko has been a part of the Volkswagen Group since 1978.

Previously, as technical project leader for Volkswagen's Project India, Mr Chacko played a key-role in the decision making process towards Volkswagen Board's resolution to take the step into the Indian market with a full-fledged production base, it said.


Symantec India appoints Ajay Goel as managing director

Symantec Corp has announced the appointment of Ajay Goel as the managing director for Symantec in India.

In his new role, Mr Goel is responsible for driving the company's business strategy development and sales operations in the Indian market.

"Security, storage and systems management are growing sectors as customers continue to grapple with how to secure and manage their information environments," said Mr Goel. Today Symantec employs more than 2,800 staff in India, across R&D, sales, marketing and support.


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