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Market may take a longer pitstop on the road to recovery
November, 01st 2011

It was a sluggish start to the trading week. The Indian markets tracked their global peers and drifted into the negative territory.

The Nifty ended the Monday session at 5,326, down 34 points, while the Sensex lost 100 points to close at 17,705.

The most important development of the past couple of weeks or so has been the Lehman type of risk factor getting eliminated, believes NSE and BSE member Dipan Mehta, even if temporarily so.

"The money, which has been waiting in the sidelines domestic as well as international will again start looking at risky assets, especially Indian equities. They might not jump in immediately, but at every correction, there will certainly be an interest for investors to buy into Indian stocks," he said.

The possibilities of further upsides are more pronounced if 5200 holds, points out technical analyst and AVP at Brics Securities Abhijit Paul. "It's time to consolidate a bit but there is still some steam left for a test of 5500 to 5550 on the upside."

It was a hectic day on the earnings calendar. Private banking major ICICI delivered strong second quarter numbers.

The net interest income came in bang in-line with estimates at Rs 2,500 crore. That's a growth of 14% year-on-year.

ICICI's profits shot up 21% to Rs 1,500 crore. The bottom-line growth was due to the lower provisions that the bank has made toward bad loans.

We are entering into an interesting period as far as the banking industry is concerned, feels Mehta. "I am pretty certain that in six to 12 months from now, you would have a new set of winners and losers," he concluded.

Meanwhile, the news from the tech space too was heartening.  Wipro bounced back after that disastrous first quarter.

Wipro's dollar revenues growth matched that of its bigger rivals, coming in at 4.6%. The rupee revenue growth was even better, rising 6.6% sequentially to Rs 6,800 crore.

Profits, however, fell 2.5% to Rs 1,300 crore but that is still better than what the street was expecting.

Wipro clocked a robust 6% volume growth, riding on the back of a recovery in the BFSI segment.

The best result of the day was from FMCG major HUL , which delivered better-than-expected Q2 numbers. The top-line grew a robust 18% to come in at Rs 5,500 crore and HUL managed to drive up its profits despite the high input cost environment.

The profits soared 22% to almost Rs 700 crore. A significant improvement in the soaps and detergents division led to the surprise. Segment revenue for soaps and detergents was up 21.8% as compared to 12.8% in Q1 while margins improved by 3.2% QoQ.

According to Mehta, the numbers were certainly a breath of fresh air. It was a great development for the stock market, investors and FMCG companies, he felt.

"It had fallen off the radar for several investors on account of its lacklustre performance, but results like these, will certainly bring it back in focus."

Strong growth in personal products and beverages were also supportive for HUL. The overall EBITDA margins beat expectations at 14.73% versus expectations of 13.5% this quarter.

The upside target from a short-term point of view, Paul said, is close to the Rs 383-385. "I am a big fan of this chart from a long-term point of view, for which, I have a target in the range of Rs 420-425."

As market enters the fag-end of the earnings season, it's best to expect it to move in a sideways range for the next few weeks, said Mehta, but added, we are in a safe zone as of now.

"Once we see that inflation inching towards 6-7% and the fact that Reserve Bank will, therefore, not raise interest rates that's the time you will see next wave of buying coming into stock prices."

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