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Market posts best weekly gain in 2010
March, 06th 2010

Domestic shares posted their best weekly gains in 2010, as they closed 0.1% higher on Friday on positive global cues, with banks leading the rally, but concerns over stretched valuations limited gains.

World stocks rose after better-than-forecast US retail sales suggested the worlds biggest economy was stabilising. The 30-share BSE index Sensex closed 0.13%, or 22.79 points, higher to finish at 16,994.49, taking its gains in the holiday-shortened week to 3.4%.

Sixteen of its components rose. However, the sharp rally after last Fridays Union Budget, which pushed for higher consumption and fiscal consolidation, has raised concerns that valuations could start looking expensive.

There is some amount of caution. Valuations look stretched after the rally post the budget, said Ambareesh Baliga, vice-president of Karvy Stock Broking. Foreign funds had bought $791 million of Indian equities in the last three sessions, which was a sign of renewed interest, but dealers said the scenario could reverse if global cues turned negative.

We are advising our clients to book profits, Baliga said, adding that the market could correct from the current levels. Financials led the rise on good long-term outlook in a growing economy.

Top lender State Bank of India (SBI) gained 0.7% while private sector lenders ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank rose 0.4% and 0.2%, respectively. Top vehicle maker Tata Motors fell 2% to Rs 795.30, after 3.7 million shares changed hands in a block deal on the BSE at Rs 813.

Top mobile operator Bharti Airtel rose 1.9%, as the stock looked attractive at the current level from a long-term perspective, dealers said. The stock was one of the only two Sensex stocks to decline in 2009 and is down more than 9% so far in 2010.

Bharti is a good pick at the current level. It is set to establish a footprint globally, said R. Ganesh, director of Systematix Shares, a Mumbai-based brokerage. Non-ferrous metals maker Sterlite Industries slipped 0.4%, as traders locked gains. The stock had gained 8.4% in the last four sessions.

In the broader market, gainers outnumbered losers in the ratio of 1.4:1 with 423 million shares changing hands on the BSE, higher than last weeks daily average volume of 291 million shares. The 50-share NSE index Nifty rose 0.2% at 5,088.70.

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