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Stock markets: Signs of resurgence

Nov 16, 2002

This week was dominated by more of positive news on the US economy than negative ones. New figures indicate a resurgent consumer confidence ahead of the holiday season as well as better retail sales figures for the month of November. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose to 85.0 from 80.6 in October, on the other hand retail sales figures have shown a better than expected trend. News was encouraging on the unemployment side also as the figures indicate lower unemployment claims than what was expected. The weekend was however soured to an extent due to earnings estimate downgrades by leading brokerages on blue chips like Intel and GE.

The coming weeks may see renewed investor interest on the bourses due to better than expected economic data. Having said that any adverse news on the Iraq issue may take a toll on the bourses. Also the threat of terrorist attacks has intensified over this weekend and may keep investors from taking new positions on the markets. Volatility cannot be ruled out in the coming week.

(Price in $) 9-Nov-02 16-Nov-02 Change
Satyam Infoway 1.3 1.3 0.0%
ICICI Bank 5.5 5.2 -5.6%
Dr. Reddy's 14.4 15.1 4.6%
Wipro 29.3 33.6 14.7%
VSNL 3.6 3.9 6.9%
MTNL 3.8 3.9 2.6%
Infosys 75.5 72.7 -3.7%
Rediff 0.3 0.4 26.3%
HDFC Bank 13.3 13.3 0.0%
Satyam 11.2 12.2 8.8%
Silverline 0.6 0.6 0.0%

Wipro has been the biggest gainer this week. The company started gaining after it was reported that it had bought over the global energy practice division of IT consulting firm American Management Systems. The deal is estimated to be worth US$ 26 m (Rs 1.3 bn). This deal is expected to increase the presence of Wipro in the energy and utilities segment. Also news on the Lehman Brother deal strengthened the gains. Bill Gates visit to India has further raised the interest in the software sector and buoyed sentiment. Satyam too has gained strongly due to this renewed interest in software stocks and strength on the NASDAQ.

VSNL and MTNL recovered from lower levels. ICICI Bank on the other hand could not recover from a bout of institutional selling and ended in the red for the week. Singapore government one of the largest shareholders in the Bank has offloaded a major chunk of its holding in the open market leading to this fall. Infosys has succumbed to profit taking in the current week.

Indices 9-Nov-02 16-Nov-02 Change
FTSE 4,035 4,092 1.4%
Nikkei 8,691 8,504 -2.2%
BSE 2,957 3,037 2.7%
Hang Seng 9,771 9,866 1.0%
NASDAQ 1,359 1,411 3.8%
Dow 8,537 8,579 0.5%
Dax 3,079 3,192 3.7%

Performance of other global indices was lacklustre with the exception of the Dax. The Nikkei however fell unlike other global indices that closed in the black in the current week. The Indian bourses performed better than last week as the BSE gained by nearly 3% during the week. Positive references about the Indian software companies by the visiting Microsoft head certainly buoyed sentiments towards the Indian software companies. Strength in software majors Infosys, Satyam and especially Wipro lend support to the other index constituents, which led to a broad based rally over the weekend.

Sentiments could be buoyant in the coming week, but any adverse news on the Iraq front may affect domestic sentiment largely due to its effect on global market sentiments. The same is true for other global indices. Volatility cannot be ruled out in the coming week.

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