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Dalal Street Takes a Chill

BSE Sensex finished the week on yet another ho-hum note shedding 45 points. Market gripped in uncertainty is unlikely to chart direction. Better budget expectation for the next fiscal may keep the market in an oscillatory mode.

Indian stock markets finished the week on yet another ho-hum note as investors digested a mixed bag of earnings reports. Lack of FII's support with traders booking profit on every rise pulled the BSE Sensex down 45 points and NSE Nifty 11 points. A dull market sentiment was reflected in a 21 per cent fall in the combined average turnover at both the exchanges since last week.

Contrary to the historic trends when foreign fund houses' allocation to Indian markets peaked in the first month of the year, this year witnessed an inflow of only Rs 617 crore. Last year for the same period their net investment stood at a whopping Rs 3325.9 crore. This week, FIIs sold Rs 135 crore worth of shares. Domestic funds were active this week with an investment of Rs 57 crore.

Market remained lackluster with a mere 5-point gain. Even Satyam's better-than-expected earnings failed to enthuse the market. The old economy shares gaining through out the week lost in the end as the quarterly earnings of Cummins, Tisco and Tata Power fell short of expectations. BSE IT index fell by 2 per cent as front-runners tumbled under the so-called NASDAQ effect and profit booking at higher levels. BSE FMCG index gained marginally as FMCG major HLL posted modest rise in earnings for the quarter. On the other hand, the automobile sector led by Hero Honda, LML and M&M brought cheer in the mid-week in an otherwise subdued market. Despite Gujarat Ambuja and ACC's better result, cement stocks plunged. Pharma stocks ruled firm.

Emerging Primary Market: A Ray of Hope
The announcement of floor price of Bharti Tele-Ventures public issue has evoked positive response. This issue has the potential to attract widespread interest for its focus, size and perhaps a fancied sector. Investor response to the issue can rejuvenate the dormant IPO market.

Outlook
Market gripped in uncertainty is unlikely to chart direction. Nervous investors will continue to rock brief rally to book gains. Earnings announcement and budget expectations will keep the market in an oscillatory mode.