Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sensex manages to close about 9000 level - 18th Feb 2009


Buying demand in Reliance Industries and telecom shares once again pulled the BSE Sensex above the psychologically important 9,000 level. The BSE Sensex was down 56.81 points to 8,978.19. The S&P CNX Nifty dropped 3.55 points to 2,766.95. The market breadth was weak on the BSE with 1232 shares declining as compared with 791 that advanced.

Tata Motors (up 1.52%), ONGC (up 1.26%) and Sun Pharma (up 1.20%) edged higher from the Sensex pack. Reliance Infrastructure (down 3.37%), M&M (down 1.94%) and Hindustan Unilever (down 0.93%) edged lower from the Sensex pack. Reliance Industries gained 1.67% to Rs 1288.75. Telecom shares gained. Bharti Airtel (up 1.46%), Reliance Communications (up 0.52%) and Idea Cellular Services (up 3.16%) gained.

Banking shares slumped. HDFC Bank fell 1.22% to Rs 869.55. SBI slipped 2.19% to Rs 1076.20. HDFC slumped 4.30% to Rs 1370.15. Infosys Technologies fell 0.65% to Rs 1170. Oracle Financial Services Software surged 3.64% to Rs 727. Direct-to-home players Sun TV (up 1.30%) and Dish TV (up 1.39%) rose. Maytas Infra was locked at the upper limit of 5% at Rs 56.85. KEC International rose 3.60% to Rs 142.50.

Fears of downgrade of the country by international ratings agencies loom large on India's rising fiscal deficit seen at 6% of GDP at end 2008-09, far higher than the initial target of 2.5% set for the current year. Both Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings have already indicated that they are likely to lower the country's credit rating.

India's fiscal deficit is one of the highest in the world and the two stimulus packages announced in recent months to shore up sagging growth have put pressure on finances, while tax collections have slowed sharply. Standard and Poor's currently rates India's local currency rating at BBB- (minus), the lowest investment-grade level, with a stable outlook. Fitch has a similar rating but with a negative outlook, while Moody's pegs it at one notch lower at speculative grade.