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Share prices continue to be in a range: Thursday Closing Report

As suggested yesterday, Nifty stalled at 5,900. Nifty to be bound between 5.700 and 6,000

The market opened in positive terrain yet again today, on expectations of good fourth quarter results, despite pricing and global pressures. Global cues also supported the gains. The Sensex opened 112 points higher at 19,583 and the Nifty resumed trade at 5,883, 31 points up from the previous close. Range-bound trade was seen till about 10.45am, after which buying interest in select stocks lifted the indices to their intra-day highs. The Sensex surged 225 points at the day's high and the Nifty gained 62 points.

Higher weekly food inflation numbers for the week ended 9th April resulted in the market paring some of its earlier gains. The market remained in a range in the noon session and touched the day's low at around 1.40pm, with the Sensex falling to 19,531 and the Nifty to 5,864. However, higher-than-expected quarterly earnings from IT major TCS once again perked up sentiments. Trade remained range-bound in the late session as global financial major Goldman Sachs raised its inflation forecast and cut growth estimates for the current year.

The market closed in the positive for the third day in a row with the Sensex gaining 131 points to 19,602 and the Nifty at 5,885, up 33 points. The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange was 615:782.

Among the broader markets, the BSE Mid-cap index gained 0.13% and the BSE Small-cap index added 0.03%.

The BSE Metal index (up 1.62%) was the top sectoral gainer. It was followed by BSE Oil & Gas (up 1.28%), BSE Realty (up 0.76%), BSE Bankex (up 0.65%) and BSE Auto (up 0.54%). The major losers were BSE Capital Goods (down 0.98%), BSE Power (down 0.84%), BSE IT (down 0.61%) and BSE TECk (down 0.59%).

In the Sensex list Maruti Suzuki (up 3.22%), ONGC (up 3.01%), Hindalco (up 2.92%), HDFC (up 2.57%) and Sterlite Industries (up 2.50%) were at the top while BHEL (down 4.38%), TCS (down 2.23%), Bharti Airtel (down 1.01%), Bajaj Auto (up 0.72%) and Tata Motors (down 0.60%) languished on the index.

Reversing a three-week declining trend, food inflation shot up to 8.74% for the week ended 9th April from 8.28% in the previous week on account of higher prices of fruits, protein-based items and onions, according to official data released today.  
The surge from the last week, which was incidentally the lowest in a year-and-a-half, is likely to put more pressure on the government, which is bewildered that the overall inflation for March overshot its 8% forecast to 8.98%.

Markets in Asia settled higher on optimism that the economic recovery is sustaining. Gains were supported by positive earnings from US corporate houses, however, nervousness crept in ahead of earnings announcements from Japanese companies due next week.

In deal news, Sinopec China's leading oil producer signed a gas purchase agreement worth around $85 billion over 20 years that also gives it 15% of an Australian gas-export project. Sinopec will pay $1.5 billion for the stake in the Australia Pacific liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, completing a preliminary deal agreed in February with project developers ConocoPhillips and Australia's Origin Energy.

The Shanghai Composite gained 0.67%, Hang Seng surged 1.01%, Jakarta Composite rose 0.17%, the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.82%, the Straits Times climbed 0.91%, the Seoul Composite was up 1.32% and the Taiwan Weighted jumped 1.64%. Bucking the trend, the KLSE Composite lost 0.31%.

Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of stocks worth Rs193 crore on Wednesday, whereas domestic institutional investors were net sellers of equities worth Rs23.28 crore.

Amid concerns expressed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country's largest lender, the State Bank of India (up 2.34%), on Wednesday announced withdrawal of special home loan schemes, or teaser rates, with effect from 1st May. SBI Easy Home Loan and SBI Advantage Home Loan (teaser rate products) will be replaced by floating interest rate schemes on par with other commercial banks.

Tata Steel (0.60%) and Krosaki Harima Corporation (KHC) have signed a definitive agreement to induct KHC as a strategic partner in Tata Refractories (TRL). As per the agreement, KHC will acquire a 51% stake of Tata Steel's current 77.46% holding in TRL. KHC is an associate company of Nippon Steel Corporation of Japan. The deal is based on an equity valuation of TRL of around Rs1,130 crore and is subject to approval of relevant regulatory authorities in India and Japan.

Jindal Steel and Power (JSPL) (up 2.37%) has made an open offer to acquire Australian coal firm Rocklands Richfield at A$0.25 a share. The on-market cash offer is being made by JSPL's Australian subsidiary Jindal Steel and Power (Australia) Pty (JSPA) for all shares of Rocklands listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. The total value of the offer is estimated at A$88 million or around Rs413 crore.

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