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The Weekend Panorama

Gold ETFs were in the limelight, at the time when equities were losing sight

Gold ETFs were back this week and posted a sturdy return of 4.63 per cent for the week ended May 23. In the international market Gold futures closed higher, as weakness in the US dollar and strength in oil prices fuelled concerns about inflation. Gold for June delivery closed at $925.80 an ounce on the NYMEX. The contract closed out last week at $899.90, up 2.9% from a week ago.

Equity Banking was the worst performer category for the week ended May 23, 2008. The category on an average lost 6.27 per cent followed by Tax Planning which lost 2.84 per cent. BSE Banking index, however, fell almost 8 per cent. The Sensex and Nifty both ended in red, down 4.50 per cent and 4.09 per cent, respectively. The Equity Diversified category lost 2.79 per cent. Last week’s top performer - Technology category shed 2.48 per cent.

In the 1-month and 1-year return category, Gold ETFs remain unbeaten with 7.77 per cent and 45.69 per cent. Technology is the biggest loser in the 1-year return category, albeit closing the gap. In the 1-month category Banking funds eroded the wealth of investors the most; they category lost 4.12 per cent.

In the Equity Diversified category JM HI FI lost 4.31 per cent, UTI Services Sector 4.54 per cent, Taurus Starshare 4.83 per cent and Taurus INFRA-TIPS 4.87 per cent for the week ended May 23, 2008. In the Banking category JM Financial Services Sector lost 6.42 per cent, Reliance Banking 5.23 and UTI Banking Sector 7.17 per cent.

This week, SEBI also finalised the modalities of the new payment guidelines issued on the 13th of May. Mentioned below are the draft guidelines:-

• Self Certified Syndicate Banks (SCSB) would accept applications of retail investors. SCSB would block the bid amount, upload the details, unblock once basis of allotment is finalized and transfer the amount for allotted shares to the issuer.

• An SCSB is the bank which would offer its account holders the service of making an application supported by blocked amount (ASBA) in issues. For this purpose, an SCSB would have to have an arrangement with BSE or NSE. • Only those retail investors would be eligible to be part of this payment process who bid at the cut-off price as the single option and agree not to revise their bids. • SCSB will also have to undertake the mock trial run of its systems with BSE and NSE and a few registrars to the issues.

• This payment process is proposed to co-exist with the current cheque mode of payment, where money is blocked even if shares are not allotted.