Stocks snap four-day rally

Sensex sheds 57 points to close at 17,344, while the Nifty falls 17 points to 5,169

Stock prices fell marginally on Wednesday, ending a four-day rise that had lifted them to their highest level in 19 months. The BSE Sensex lost  57 points to close at 17,344 while the NSE Nifty ended at 5,169 points, down 18 points.

The market was volatile as traders rolled over positions in the derivatives segment from the December 2009 series to the January 2010 series ahead of the expiry of the near-month December 2009 contracts tomorrow (31st December).

The government has expressed concern about India’s rising fiscal deficit, which currently stands at 6.8%, and stressed the need for balancing economic growth and the fiscal deficit.

C Rangarajan, chairman of the prime minister’s economic advisory council, on Tuesday forecast the GDP to grow at 7% to 7.5% this fiscal, signaling an improvement in the domestic economic climate.

Shyamala Gopinath, deputy governor of the RBI, said the focus has now shifted to managing recovery and controlling inflation from fostering growth after the meltdown last year.

During the day, Aban Offshore (up 1.44%) informed that Credit Analysis & Research (CARE) has revised the ratings for the preference shares issued by the company.

Fortis Healthcare (down 0.45%) has announced the addition of a 175-bed hospital in Shiwani, Haryana. The hospital will be will be managed by Fortis under an O&M management deal.

Harrisons Malayalam (up 1.24%) has informed that HML Plantation workers in Kerala are on strike since December 28, 2009 on the issue of bonus.

Negotiations with various unions are under way to resolve the issue.

Hindustan Construction Company (down 0 .3%) has been awarded a contract worth Rs 374.66 crore from Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL) to construct a strategic crude oil storage cavern at Padur in Karnataka. The scope of the project includes engineering and design, underground excavation, access tunnels, water curtain galleries, main storage cavern, shafts and associated underground civil works including geological mapping.

Cement shares gained on speculation that prices will rise on the back of an increase in infrastructure activity. 

Reliance Infrastructure (up 1.64%) extended yesterday’s gains on reports that its subsidiary, Reliance Power Transmission, has bagged two transmission projects worth Rs4,100 crore. 

European markets were trading marginally higher, reversing their early fall, led by bank shares. Key benchmark indices in the UK, Germany and France were up by between 0.02% and 0.07% Asian markets ended higher after rebounding from early losses. Key benchmark indices in South Korea, Singapore, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan were up by between 0.06% and 1.58%. However, the Japanese Nikkei 225 index fell 0.86%.
 

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