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Unquoted:CCL International,Ceeta Industries

CCL International (Rs32)

CCL International’s revenues in the March and June 2009...

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Flat-to-positive opening for Indian shares indicated: Thursday Market Preview

Global issues, leading to higher crude prices, continue to weigh on investors worldwide

The local market is likely to see a flat-to-positive opening on concerns about rising crude on account of the tensions in West Asia but strength in the global markets could keep the momentum going. Wall Street ended higher on Wednesday on support from material stocks. Reports of the resignation of Portuguese prime minister Jose Socrates after the country’s parliament rejected latest austerity initiatives indicates that the European debt crisis is far from over. Tracking overnight gains in the US, the Asian pack was mostly higher in early trade on Thursday. The SGX Nifty gave up some early gains but was 12 points up at 5,515 over its previous close of 5,503.

The weekly food inflation figures, expected at noon today, will give some direction to the local market later in the day.

The market opened flat with a negative bias on Wednesday, following a weakening trend in Asian markets, on concerns over the effect of high crude prices on the economy. It succumbed to profit booking within 15 minutes of opening, falling to the day's low, the Sensex down 38 points at 17,950 and the Nifty also losing 12 points to 5402.

Buying in select sectors soon helped the indices to erase early losses and pushed them into a higher trajectory. The indices gained some momentum to breach the psychological 18,000 and 5,400 levels, respectively, then moved sideways. The market scaled to the intra-day high in the last half an hour, but closed trade a tad off the highs. The Sensex ended 218 points higher at 18,206 and the Nifty closed at 5,480, a gain of 66 points.

Markets in the US were boosted by material stocks on Wednesday following a rise in metal prices. However, the rise in crude prices due to the ongoing political crisis and the resignation of the Portuguese prime minister curbed the gains. Stocks fell early in the session on disappointing news from the housing sector but an uptick around mid-session showed that the rally was intact.

Materials stocks gained on speculations that Japan’s reconstruction could be costly, a boost to companies that produce commodities like aluminium, steel and copper. Oil traded near the highest since September 2008 in New York as the conflict in Libya and the Middle East bolstered concerns that supplies will be further disrupted.

Crude for May delivery gained 78 cents, or 0.7%, to $105.75 on Wednesday, the highest since 26 September 2008. Prices have advanced 31% in the past year. Brent oil for May settlement slipped 15 cents to end the session at $115.55 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange yesterday.

Meanwhile, New US single-family home sales fell to a record low in February and prices were the lowest since December 2003. Sales tumbled 16.9% to a seasonally adjusted 250,000 unit annual rate, the lowest since records began in 1963, after an upwardly revised 301,000-unit pace in January.

The Dow rose 67.39 points (0.56%) to 12,086.02. The S&P 500 added 3.77 points (0.29%) to 1,297.54 and the Nasdaq gained 14.43 points (0.54%) to 2,698.30.

Markets in Asia were in the green in early trade on Thursday taking cues from the US markets that closed in the positive territory on Wednesday. The gains were also supported by higher commodity prices and on optimism from Japan following reports that some manufacturers are gearing to resume production at some factories after the devastating earthquake and resultant tsunami that struck the country earlier this month.

The Shanghai Composite gained 0.22%, the Hang Seng surged 0.77%, the Jakarta Composite added 0.03%, the Straits Times rose 0.36%, the Seoul Composite was up 0.80% and the Taiwan Weighted advanced 0.35%. On the other hand, the KLSE Composite was down 0.04% and the Nikkei 225 fell by 0.20% in early trade.

The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial metals including copper and aluminium rose 2.3% on Wednesday to a three-week high while gold rose for the sixth straight session yesterday, nearing a record in New York.

Back home, Anil Ambani group firm Reliance Life, which recently announced selling 26% stake to Japanese insurer Nippon for $680 million, will have to seek government nod, said the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA).

Under the Insurance Act, promoters wanting to sell 26% stake (maximum permissible limit), could offload their equity only after 10 years into operations. However, Reliance Life has not yet completed 10 years of operation. IRDA chairman J Hari Narayan said Reliance Life is in touch with the insurance watchdog over the issue and the company has to approach the government for approval.

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