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Sensex gains 294 points, bank shares surge

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MUMBAI: The stock markets remained buoyant after a really long week-end, with the benchmark Sensex posting a gain of nearly 294 points on Monday to settle the day at above 15000 level, riding on a surge in banking stocks.

The 30-share Sensex on the Bombay Stock Exchange regained the 15000 level to end at 15289.40, up by 294.57 points from its last Wednesday’s closing level. The index is crossing this crucial level for the first time since March 17 when it fell below this level on heavy selling triggered by global cues.

In volatile trade, the key index moved in a range of 15351.31 and 15056.09 points.

The 50-issue Nifty of the National Stock Exchange also firmed up by 35.90 points to end at 4609.85 from its previous close.

Meanwhile, Asian markets gave mixed bag of signs. While the key indices in Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea were up by 0.50 per cent to 3.99 per cent, China’s Shanghai Composite index was down by 4.49 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei was lower by 0.02 per cent.

On BSE, despite a rise in its barometer, the market breadth turned negative as 2149 counters ended with losses against only 535 losses.

Brokers said volatility increased on the bourses ahead of the expiry of March 2008 derivative contracts on March 27.

The surge in Sensex was aided mainly by the bankex which shot up by 3.32 per cent. HDFC soared by 7.73 per cent, the highest among the index-related stocks.

ICICI Bank firmed up by 4.98 per cent. The other prominent gainers were Hind Unilever, HDFC Bank and Wipro. Among the losers, Tata Steel, which was down by over 7 per cent, led the pack. Maruti, JP Associates, DLF and REL lost in the range of 1-6 per cent.

The trading volume dropped sharply to Rs. 4,682.75 crore from the last weekend’s level of Rs. 5,796.91 crore. RIL was the most active share with the highest turnover of Rs. 201.99 crore. — PTI


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