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Markets stable ahead of Budget
February, 26th 2010

The Sensex is now quoting at 16345, higher by 91 points and the Nifty is at 4890, up 30 points.

Energy, PSU and metal sectors continue to be in the limelight. Reliance Industries, BPCL and HPCL have appreciated around 2% each. And in the metals space, Hindalco, Sail and Sterlite are trading firm.

(Updated at 0956am)

The Sensex is now quoting at 16325, higher by 71 points and the Nifty is at 4882, up 22 points.

Energy, PSU and metal sectors are hogging the limelight. Reliance Industries, BPCL and HPCL have appreciated more than 1% on hopes that the government may act on the Ketan Parikh report regarding fuel subsidies. And in the metals space, Hindalco, Sail and Sterlite are exhibiting strength.

The excise-rate sensitive auto and FMCG sectors are steady in this morning's trades. Among the autio stocks, Bajaj Auto, M&M and Tata Motors are among the gainers. And in the FMCG sector, HUL, ITC and Dabur have added up to 1% each.

The realty sector is also marginally up. Stocks such as Unitech, HDIL and DLF have added up to 1% each.

The market breadth is positive. Out of 2083 stocks traded on the BSE, there are 1206 advancing stocks as against 816 declines.

(Updated at 0901am)

The markets are interestingly poised in the run-up to the Budget. The indices have been stuck in a tight range for sometime now and this morning is no different, with the Sensex quoting at 16292, higher by 28 points and the Nifty at 4878, up 19 points. The energy sector is the top gainer on the BSE.

The budget, to be presented by the finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in Parliament at 11 am, is expected to show the way ahead for Dalal Street. Will it be a game-changer budget, thereby giving a leg-up to the markets? Or will it be a mere exercise at managing the assets and revenues of the government? One would know very soon.

The FM is faced with Hobson's choices, though. He has to tackle inflation, while sustaining the growth momentum at the same time. Managing the fiscal deficit while simultaneously making adequate monetary provisions for the social sector, would be an uphill task. And he has to do something to take care of the runaway subsidy bills, what with fertilisers and fuels being the proverbial hot potato till date.

The global cues are supportive. The US markets ended marginally lower, with the Dow Jones shedding 53 points and Nasdaq lopsing a mere point. The Asian markets have opened positive; Hang Seng has advanced 226 points and Nikkei has added 43 points.

Reliance Industries is the leading gainer on the Sensex, stronger by 1% at Rs 974. SBI has strengthened by 0.7% at Rs 1928 and Hindalco has added 0.6% at Rs 154. HDFC Bank, ITC and L&T are the other major gainers.

Among the losers, Tata Power has weakened by 3.8% at Rs 1216 and Ranbaxy has tumbled more than 6% post their Q4 results. Besides, Maruti is trading lower by 1.6% at Rs 1377 and ICICI Bank is down 0.4% at Rs 847.

The market breadth is negative. Out of 1271 stocks traded on the BSE, there are 764 advancing stocks as against 459 declines.

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