Sensex up 41 points as HUL spurts

Mumbai: The Sensex today closed 41 points higher amid contrasting earnings signals from FMCG giant HUL which beat expectations by doubling profits while IT major Wipro`s muted guidance was a disappointment. After plunging below 17,000 level in two days of sustained selling, the Sensex today opened marginally higher and stayed in the positive zone after reports said China`s manufacturing output in July grew at its fastest pace in nine months.

The BSE benchmark index touched day`s high of 16,962.74 after shares of Hindustan Unilever shot to 52-week high after April-June quarter profits doubled. It closed 7.5 per cent up. In range-bound trade, the 30-share index closed at 16,918.08, up 40.73 points or 0.24 per cent with 14 shares, including Sterlite, Maruti, Bharti, ONGC, RIL and ITC ending with gains.

Fifteen other stocks ended lower led by Wipro, that lost three per cent. The IT company slumped to a nine-month low after muted guidance. L&T, Sun Pharma and Bhel were the other big losers. Tata Motors was unchanged. The 50-share National Stock Exchange index Nifty gained 10.25 points, or 0.20 per cent to end at 5,128.20.

Brokers said there was some profit-booking in the latter half of the day as Moody`s downgraded Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Germany`s private sector also shrank in July. "European indices remained mixed and selling continued on the back of Chinese and German factory data, raising fears," said Nidhi Sarswat, Sr. Research Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio.

In Europe, Germany`s DAX, France`s CAC and the UK`s FTSE were trading with marginal losses while in Asia, Japan`s Nikkei, Hong Kong`s Hang Seng and Taiwan`s KOSPI ended lower. The sentiment also became cautious ahead of monthly settlement in derivatives segment on Thursday, traders said. Among sectors, the BSE-FMCG was the top gainer rising by 1.91 per cent, followed by BSE-Consumer Durables (1.16 pc).

Meanwhile, the rupee was trading above 56-levels compared to its previous close of 55.97. The market may remain volatile in the next couple of days as traders roll over positions from the near-month July series to August series as the July contracts expire, said analysts. "Market continued to oscillate between gains and losses. This is mainly because of rollover procedure. The rally may catch momentum from Friday on the hope of FDI in retail and commencement of the new settlement," said Kishor P Ostwal, CMD, CNI Research.

Some Asian indices, including those from China, Singapore and South Korea, erased some of their early losses. Globally every market is closely watching development in Eurozone after Spain woes while locally the market is expecting diesel price hike, said experts. Back home, besides HUL, other major gainers from the Sensex pack were Sterlite (2.56 pc), Maruti Suzuki (2.34 pc), Bharti Airtel (1.42 pc), ONGC (1.19 pc) and Gail (1.15 pc).

However, among losers, Wipro dropped by 2.93 per cent, followed by L&T (1.45 pc), Sun Pharma (1.38 pc) and BHEL (0.96 pc). The market breadth remained weak as 1,396 shares ended lower while 1,391 closed higher. The total turnover rose to Rs 1,818.13 crore from Rs 1,636.47 crore on Monday. On Nifty`s outlook, Milan Bavishi, Head Research, Inventure Growth & Securities said, "A rise from here can find resistance at 5200 and supports lie at 5000, which is a psychological level." FIIs bought shares worth a net Rs 321.80 crore yesterday as per Sebi data.