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Global markets: Demons of 1999, banished…

Jan 3, 2004

The week that was interspersed between two years, was witness to the Nasdaq closing above the 2,000 mark and the US markets ending its three year losing streak and ending the year 2003 on a positive note. Amidst light volume trading, the US markets witnessed a strong rally on Monday and as a result, both the US indices ended the day with gains. The tech laden Nasdaq managed to cross the key psychological barrier of 2,000 for the first time in nearly two years. The trading volume remained light on the next two days and the stocks were under some pressure on Wednesday on account of the continuing slide of the dollar against the euro as well as some mild profit taking. But the day would go down in the annals, as the day when the Wall Street managed its first winning year since 1999, thus ending three successive years of decline. The markets remained closed on Thursday on account of the New Year's holiday. The first trading day of the new year saw the markets finish to a mixed close but an upbeat report on manufacturing sent out feelers about the continued growth of the US economy, which augurs well for the stock markets.

Indices 26-Dec-03 2-Jan-04 Change
NASDAQ 1,973 2,007 1.7%
Hang Seng 12,457 12,802 2.8%
Nikkei 10,417 10,677 2.5%
BSE-Sensex 5,699 6,027 5.8%
FTSE 4,445 4,510 1.5%
Dow 10,325 10,410 0.8%
Dax 3,903 4,019 3.0%

As far as the major indices across the world are concerned, for the third week in a row, BSE emerged as the highest gainer, registering gains of near 6%. In the process, the benchmark index also breached the 6,000 mark and for the first time in the stock market history of the country, closed at above 6,000 levels. The robust growth in the US economy also helped the other indices from the European and other Asian countries register impressive gains, in particular the East Asian giant Japan, whose benchmark Nikkei grew by an impressive 3%.

(Price in US$) 26-Dec-03 2-Jan-04 Change
HDFC Bank 33.1 31.8 -3.9%
Wipro 45.8 51.7 12.9%
Satyam 26.8 32.2 20.1%
Infosys 87.3 99.3 13.7%
Satyam Infoway 4.9 6.2 25.7%
Dr.Reddy's 31.7 32.2 1.6%
Silverline 1.1 1.1 0.0%
ICICI Bank 15.7 18.3 16.8%
Rediff 5.6 6.2 10.7%
MTNL 6.3 7.4 17.5%
VSNL 6.7 7.9 17.9%

Indian ADRs had a cracker of a week, as barring HDFC Bank, all of them managed impressive gains. Lot of ADRs, especially from the telecom sector and the dotcom stocks registered double digit growth rates. Leading the pack were telecom ADRs such as MTNL and VSNL, which rose by 18% each. Investors seem to be flocking back to the sector as in recent times, the government has taken a lot of favorable decisions and this would go a long way in improving the performance of the sector, which has tremendous growth potential in the country. Tech rally that resurfaced in the US markets this week also had its impact on the Indian tech ADRs as all of them registered gains for the week. Dotcom ADRs also remained on the investors' radar during the week.

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