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Stocks Ignore Flu Fear

After a brief pause last week, Indian stocks marched ahead in the week ended February 24, 2006. The Sensex moved in the range of 9896.64 and 10304.88 levels before closing up 2.20 per cent at 10200.76 levels

After a brief pause last week, Indian stocks marched ahead in the week ended February 24, 2006. The Sensex moved in the range of 9896.64 and 10304.88 levels before closing up 2.20 per cent at 10200.76 levels. The Nifty rose 2.30 per cent to 3050 levels. Among the broader indices, the S&P CNX 500 closed up 1.98 per cent, while the CNX Midcap index added a marginal 0.07 per cent over the week.

Markets ignored the fears of the economic impact of bird flu that was feared to have hit the poultry farms of western Maharashtra on Monday. After opening weak, the Sensex added close to 100 points. However, as the story progressed, the fear of bird flu bothered investors. But it did not have much impact on the markets, as the Sensex rose to a new high on Tuesday on robust FII fund inflows and some in expectation of positive news from the budget. The Sensex ended the day up 0.88 per cent to 10,168 levels. The stock market rallied for the third successive day on Wednesday to attain yet another closing high. Helped by blue-chips, the Sensex ended at 10,224 points. The party continued on Thursday as well, though investors resorted to some profit booking. At the end of the day, the Sensex closed at 10,244 levels, up a marginal 0.19 per cent over the day. However, the stock market slipped after four straight sessions of gains on Friday. The Sensex closed over 43 points down at 10,201 levels.

Among the 30 Sensex stocks, 26 ended the week in the positive territory. Leading the pack of gainers was Tata Steel and NTPC--both added over 9 per cent each. Among the biggest losers of the week was HDFC Bank, which shed 4.16 per cent.

Among the sectoral indices, BSE IT ended the week flat, up a marginal 0.08 per cent. BSE Metal and BSE PSU added an impressive 4.57 and 4.18 per cent, respectively.

The combined daily average turnover on both exchanges dropped 16.74 per cent to Rs 9,639.50 crore in the week ended February 24, 2006. The FIIs invested nearly Rs 2,235 crore. Domestic mutual funds turned net sellers and pulled out Rs 213 crore over the week.