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Headed Nowhere

The bears prevailed in a dull week. Key stocks in every sector barring pharma lost the ground. The second quarter earnings should bring in activity in the coming weeks.

In a lackluster trading week, market went nowhere. Except for the last trading session, markets were on a free-fall. Still, the BSE Sensex inched up by 13 points and NSE Nifty closed the week with a gain of 8 points. Lack of institutional support, weakness in US market and the Gujarat massacre followed by bandh kept investors at bay.

FII's remained net-sellers for the fourth consecutive week. Barring the ICICI-FII deal, they sold Rs 220 crore worth of stocks. ICICI was able to place its 16.5% equity stake to a clutch of foreign investors for Rs 1320 crore. Domestic funds were also net-seller this week.

The hangover of derailed disinvestment prevailed this week as well. The PSU stocks remained under pressure as Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum slipped 3.5% more. The only exception being Engineers India, which gained 4%.

Technology stocks were also weak, quite in line with the NASDAQ. But recovered towards the end with optimism of earnings season. The BSE IT Index gained 1.3%, whereas the NASDAQ lost 1.8% on account of profit warning from few US companies.

Pharma stocks also registered moderate gains. The BSE Health Care Index surged 1.9%. Dr. Reddy's was up 5.4%, Ranbaxy and Torrent Pharma were up 4.6% each. Among the auto stocks, the two wheelers -- Bajaj Auto gained 1.14%, Hero Honda was up 3.35% and TVS motors -- 4.6%. However in the four wheeler segment -- TELCO and Mahindra & Mahindra lost marginally.

Despite reporting a reasonable sales growth of 13.59% during April-August 2002, cement stocks primarily -- L&T and Gujarat Ambuja lost 5.57% and 2.38% respectively.

The market has lost over 150 points following the postponement of disinvestment in PSUs. And the continuing uncertainty is still haunting the market. Perhaps the forthcoming earnings season could holds the potential to provide the long awaited trigger.