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Indian shares inching closer to 18,000-mark

Sensex ends firm with the benchmark index rising 3% to its 10th straight record close on Wed, edging towards the 18,000-point mark.

business Updated: Oct 06, 2007 17:35 IST

Skyrocketing stock markets and a surging Indian rupee saw a key index setting records on 10 of the last 11 working days. It also nearly kissed the 18,000 mark before closing a little lower down 0.02 per cent Friday.

Fuelled by overseas investors seeking refuge from global market uncertainties, the Indian market outpaced other Asian markets.

Indian shares ended firm with the benchmark index rising three percent to its 10th straight record close on Wednesday and edged towards the 18,000-point mark, led by market heavyweights Reliance Industries Ltd. and technology stocks. <b1>

The 30-share sensitive index of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Sensex ended 518.42 points or three percent higher at 17,847.04, rising for eleven sessions in a row and hit a lifetime high of 17,953.07 during the day's trade.

The Sensex moved in the range of 17,288-17,953 levels in intra-day trades. Twenty of its components traded in the green.

Similarly, the broader 50-issue National Stock Exchange index (Nifty) too breached the 5,000 mark for the first time in early deals Wednesday to close 141.85 points or at 5,210.85.

Thursday witnessed volatility ending the markets' eleven-day winning streak with the benchmark index settling 0.39 percent lower to recover from early lows, led by losses by banking and housing finance stocks in intra-day trading.

Index heavyweights, however, led a slight recovery in late advances as the Indian rupee rose to its strongest level against the dollar in over nine years while dealers bought local stocks in anticipation of strong overseas investments into the stock market.

The 30-share sensitive index of the BSE closed down 69.9 points or 0.39 percent to settle at 17.777.14 levels.

While the partially convertible rupee was up 0.4 per cent at 39.42 per dollar, its strongest mark since March 1998 and above Wednesday's close of 39.575/585, the Sensex moved in a broad range of 17,494-17,890 levels in intra-day deals.

Nifty closed the day flat, down 2.15 points to 5,208.65.

On Friday, the indices ended with the benchmark index making a marginal loss of 0.02 per cent led by Associated Cements, ICICI Bank and Tata Steel.

The key sensitive index of the BSE Sensex closed 3.78 points or 0.02 per cent down at 17,773.36. The Sensex had hit a record high of 17,979.18 during intra-day trade on Wednesday.

Nifty too shed 22 points or 0.44 per cent to close the week at 5,185.85 after the index moved in the range of 5,164-5,248 in intra-day trade.

"The Sensex is up 14.6 per cent since September 17. Following a somewhat slower gain of the index, which is up 28.9 per cent so far this year," said Viswash Diggikar, a stock analyst. "The week also saw record growth in market cap of real estate giant DLF and India's most valuable company Reliance Industries."

DLF, which had a $2.3 billion initial public offering (IPO) in July this year, now has a market capitalisation of more than $37 billion and the company Thursday announced that it was considering overseas acquisitions, Diggikar said.

"In the case of Reliance shares, it recorded an intra-day high of Rs.2,539 before closing at Rs 2,483.90, a gain of Rs 61.33 or 2.53 per cent.

"Floating a capital of Rs 15,000 by the RIL founder Dhirubhai Ambani in 1966 and going public ten years later with more than 58,000 investors subscribing to the issue, RIL today has a total market cap of Rs 3.4 trillion between more than two million shareholders."