Breaking a three-day winning streak, the market edged lower today on profit taking. The market failed to sustain higher levels after a firm start. A firm opening was triggered by Reliance Power's surprise announcement on Sunday, 17 February 2008, that it would consider bonus issue. The market was down sharply in afternoon trade but managed to cut losses tracking firm European markets, which opened after Indian markets. The benchmark index, BSE Sensex, dipped below 18,000 mark only to regain that level in mid-afternoon trade.

Reliance Power soared on high volumes. Despite the market fall, the breadth was positive on buying in small-cap and mid-cap stocks. Asian markets were mixed.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 67.20 points or 0.37% at 18,048.05. Sensex lost 214.29 points at the day's low of 17,900.96, hit in afternoon trade. Sensex opened 112.96 points higher at 18,228.21 and advanced to hit a high of 18,256.82 in early trade. At the day's high, Sensex rose 141.57 points.

At current 18,048.05, Sensex trades at a PE multiple of 17.18 to 18.04, based on projected FY 2009 EPS of Rs 1000-to-Rs 1050 for 30 Sensex companies.

The broader based S&P CNX Nifty was down 26 points or 0.49% at 5,276.90. Nifty February 2008 futures were at 5280.10, a premium of 3.20 points as compared to sport closing

From 16,608.01 on 12 February 2008, Sensex had advanced 1507.24 points or 9.07% in three trading sessions to 18,115.25 o n Friday, 15 February 2008.

The market breadth was positive on BSE: 1,850 shares advanced as compared to 878 that declined. 46 shares remained unchanged. 19 out of 30 Sensex stocks declined.

The BSE Mid-Cap index was up 0.65% to 7,641.48 and the BSE Small-Cap index gained 1.40% to 9,755.35. Both these indices outperfomed the Sensex

The total turnover on BSE amounted to Rs 4857 crore as compared to Rs 6,415.18 on Friday, 15 February 2008

Turnover on NSE's futures & options segment declined to Rs 32416.67 crore from Rs 42675.67 on Friday, 15 February 2008

Reliance Power surged 6.95% to Rs 411.45, off day's high of Rs 429.60. The counter saw high volumes of 1.12 crore shares on BSE. The company said on Sunday, 17 February 2008, its board would meet on Sunday, 24 February 2008, to decide bonus ratio. The bonus shares will be issued to non-promoter shareholders to compensate the losses suffered by them when the company was listed last week. The stock has been consistently trading at a discount to IPO price of Rs 450, since its listing on 11 February 2008. Meanwhile, the company has also sought an enquiry by the Securities & Exchange Board of India, the market regulator, into the decline in shares.

Sectoral indices on BSE displayed mixed trend. The the BSE Consumer Durables index (up 0.04% to 4,708.56), the BSE PSU index (up 0.24% to 8,572.39), the BSE Auto (up 0.43% at 4,789.13), the BSE FMCG index (up 2.26% at 2,258.26), the BSE Health Care index (down 0.37% at 3,678.31), the BSE Metal index (up 0.50% to 16,247.20), and the BSE Bankex (up 0.56% at 10,944.85), outperformed the Sensex

The BSE Capital Goods index (down 0.58% at 16,322.65), BSE Oil & Gas index (down 0.85% to 11,172.91), the BSE Power (down 0.42% to 3,752.87), the BSE Realty index (down 2.77% at 10,206.95), the BSE IT (down 1.31% to 3,829.24), the BSE TecK index (down 0.56% to 3,332.73), underperformed the Sensex

India's largest private sector firm by market capitalization and oil refiner Reliance Industries (RIL) was down 1.65% to Rs 2548 on 4.51 lakh shares. The stock moved in a range of Rs 2537.40 and Rs 2650 so far during the day.

India's top truck marker in terms of sales, Tata Motors slipped 2.56% to Rs 732.10 on 1.29 lakh shares. It was the top loser from Sensex pack.

India's largest public sector engineering company in terms of profit, Bharat Heavy Electricals dropped 1.75% to Rs 2222 despite reports the company has bagged an order worth Rs 650 crore from General Electricity Company, Libya for setting up a 300 megatwatt gas turbine based power plant. The stock hit a high of Rs 2280 in intra-day trade.

India's largest private sector engineering company in terms of outstanding order book position, Larsen & Toubro slipped 0.90% to Rs 3505. The company said on Monday, 18 February 2008, it has bagged an order worth Rs 1250 crore from Oil & Natural Gas Corporation.

State Bank of India (down 2.10% to Rs 2250), Reliance Energy (down 1.38% to Rs 1685.95), and DLF (down 2.38% to Rs 858), were the other losers from Sensex pack.

Mahindra & Mahindra, the country's top tractor maker in terms of sales, extended gains in late trade. It advanced 3.48% to Rs 640. It was the top gainer from Sensex pack. Mahindra & Mahindra today said that Mahindra Defence Systems, a group company, is in talks with WASS for underwater defense joint venture. Mahindra Defence Systems (MDS) makes high mobility and light bullet proof vehicles to the armed forces, paramilitary and police forces.

India's top cigarette manufacturer in terms of sales, ITC staged a sharp rally in late trade. The stock was down for most part of the day but settled with gain of 3.45% to Rs 210.

Bajaj Auto, the country's second largest bike maker in terms of sales, gained 1.16% to Rs 2200 after the Madras High Court on Saturday, 16 February 2008, restrained TVS Motor Company from manufacturing and selling 125 cc 'Flame' motorcycle by using the technology/invention described in the patent granted to Bajaj Auto. TVS Motor Company was down 2.88% to Rs 38.85.

ICICI Bank (up 1.67% to Rs 1211), Hindustan Unilever (up 2.32% to Rs 216.10), and Hindalco Industries (up 3.08% to Rs 184) were the other gainers from Sensex pack.

IT pivotals were subdued. Infosys Technologies (down 0.95% to Rs 1550), TCS (down 2.46% to Rs 850.10), Wipro (down 0.94% to Rs 416.30), and Satyam Computers (down 2.51% to Rs 427), edged lower

Sugar stocks rose on fresh buying. Bajaj Hindustan rose 9.84% to Rs 264.60, Balrampur Chini Mills gained 7.52% to Rs 97.25 and Shree Renuka Sugars advanced 11.30% to Rs 1002.

Reliance Power topped the turnover chart with a turnover of Rs 472 crore followed by Reliance Natural Resources (Rs 376 crore), Essar Oil (Rs 166.50 crore), Reliance Capital (Rs 158.60 crore) and Reliance Petroleum (Rs 153.60 crore), in that order.

Reliance Natural Resources led the volume chart clocking volumes of 2.66 crore shares followed by Ispat Industries (2.22 crore shares), Reliance Power (1.13 crore shares), Nagarjuna Fertilisers (99.25 lakh shares) and Himachal Futuristic Communications (93.70 lakh shares), in that order.

Among the side counters, Panasonic Carbon (up 18.61% to Rs 137), J Kumar Infraprojects (up 18.38% to Rs 118.85), Dish TV (up 20% to Rs 19.95), Wire & Wireless India (up 14.53% to Rs 54), and Praj Industries (up 12.95% to Rs 191) surged.

Provogue India (down 13.02% to Rs 920), Phoenix Mills (down 8.18% to Rs 414.35), Geodesic Information Systems (down 9.35% to Rs 181.05), Ansal Infrastructure (down 7.97% to Rs 215.40) and Mastek (down 6.10% to Rs 248.90), slipped

KNR Constructions settled at Rs 154.35 on BSE, a discount of 9.20% over IPO price of Rs 170. The stock debuted at Rs 180, a premium of 5.8% over the IPO price. The stock hit a low of Rs 155.65 and high of Rs 199. On BSE, 57.56 lakh shares changed hands in the counter.

Disa India galloped 20% to Rs 1826.25 after the company's board of directors at its meeting held on 16 February 2008 recommended a dividend of 2000% or Rs 200 per share in the year ended December 2007.

Unitech declined 4.14% to Rs 399.90 despite the West Bengal government giving possession of 12,500 acres of land at Nayachar Island, near Haldia, in the state to the developer PCR Chemicals.

Educomp Solutions slipped 2.30% to Rs 4068 on reports the company plans to invest up to Rs 800 crore to set up 150 schools in the next four years.

DMC International rose 4.81% to Rs 21.80 after a group company Swen Realty & Media entered into an agreement with Global Infocom to acquire an online portal.

Kalindee Rail Nirman Engineers rose 1.76% to Rs 425 after the company said its board will meet on 18 February 2008 to consider raising Rs 150 crore by issue of equity to qualified institutional buyers.

Ramco Systems gained 3.13% to Rs 145 after the company launch of India's first full-fledged Software-as-a-Service enterprise resources planning tool viz. Ramco OnDemand ERP.

European markets, which opened after Indian markets, extended early gains. Key benchmark indices in United Kingdom (up 1.89% to 5,896.70), Germany (up 1.70% to 6,948.61), and France (up 1.56% to 4,846.36), advanced.

Asian markets, which opened before Indian markets were mixed today, 18 February 2008. Japan's Nikkei (up 0.09% at 13,635.40), Taiwan's Taiwan Weighted index (up 0.18% at 7,890.90), South Korea's Seoul Composite index (up 0.09% at 1,696.24), and China's Shanghai Composite index (up 1.58% to 4,568.51), edged higher. However, Hong Kong's Hang Seng (down 1.61% at 23,759.25) and Singapore's Straits Times index (down 0.78% at 3,064.65), declined.

US markets ended Friday's, 15 February 2008 trade on mixed note after economic reports offered bleak views on everything from manufacturing to consumer sentiment. The Dow Jones industrial average declined 28.77 points, or 0.23%, to 12,348.21. The S&P 500 index gained 1.13 points, or 0.08%, to 1,349.99. The Nasdaq Composite index was down 10.74 points, or 0.46%, to 2,321.80.

India's wholesale price index rose 4.07% in the 12 months to 2 February 2008, marginally lower than the previous week's rise of 4.11%, government data released on Friday, 15 February 2008 showed