• AUGUST 23, 2003

Global markets: Asian markets top the charts

US indices gained ground during the week despite witnessing profit booking towards the close. While the Dow gained marginally, the NASDAQ was up by about 4%, largely because of gains in technology stocks. The week started on a positive note backed by gains witnessed in the chip and the retail sector.

On Tuesday, the markets gained ground on account of positive news from the economic front. Housing starts witnessed a rise during July. However, consumer sentiment weakened and this added to some pressure. On Wednesday, the markets witnessed selling pressure on account of weakness in index heavyweight, Hewlett-Packard. Though the company reported growth in its bottomline, it was below market expectations. The stock has been gaining significantly in the past few months.

Thursday saw the markets recovering Wednesday's losses mainly on account of better than expected weekly unemployment reports. Unemployment numbers were below the benchmark levels for the fifth consecutive week. Based on this report, investor sentiment was buoyed and was reflected in gains on the indices. However, the indices witnessed profit booking towards the close and were in the red on Friday.

(Price in US $)16-Aug-0323-Aug-03Change
ICICI Bank8.19.010.6%
Dr. Reddy's23.924.31.9%
Satyam Infoway5.85.8-0.2%
HDFC Bank22.822.6-0.7%

Barring Satyam Infoway (marginally down), HDFC Bank (1%) and Wipro (2%), Indian ADRs gained ground during the week. Software ADRs strengthened with Infosys (5%) and Satyam (6%) being the major gainers. Gains witnessed in the tech laden NASDAQ was one of the reasons of improving sentiment towards the software ADRs. Among others, ICICI Bank and MTNL both were trading at their 52-week highs. ICICI Bank was among the top gainer and was up 11%. It gained ground in the Indian markets also where it was up by about 15%.

Hang Seng10,42510,7613.2%

This week was witness to Asian markets topping the charts. Top among the gainers were BSE Sensex (5%), Nikkei (4%) and Hang Sang (3%). Gains on the Asian indices were led primarily by gains witnessed in steel stocks and also hopes that a recovery in US economy will boost exports of these regions. Similarly, positive economic news in the US lifted the indices in the European markets. It should be noted that any growth in the US economy is positive for Europe and Asia both as they depend on the US market for a major portion of their exports.

In the current year, US indices and other global markets have gained significant ground. Hopes that the world's largest economy will recover towards the second half is one of the major reasons for these gains. Apart from this, better GDP growth in the second quarter and signs of improving labor markets further added to the investor confidence. However, one should be cautious, as there are no clear signs of recovery in the US economy.

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