Friday, the Indian market finished a choppy session modestly higher. While profit taking following a rally in the previous session and a lack of support from the other Asian markets weighed on the market, an intra-day recovery in the European markets and some improvement in core industries performance during February helped the market end on a positive note.

Positive sentiment following sustained buying by foreign funds also helped the recovery. On Thursday, foreign funds bought shares worth Rs.1, 291 crore on a net basis, according to provisional data released by the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Output of the six core infrastructure industries, which comprises crude oil, petroleum refinery products, coal, electricity, cement and finished carbon steel, showed early signs of revival in February, as their combined output grew 2.2% compared to 1.4% in the previous month. However, the growth was poor compared to 7% in the same month last year. During April-February 2008-09, six core-infrastructure industries registered a growth of 3.0%, down from 5.8% during the corresponding period of the preceding year.The core sector accounts for 26.7% of the index of industrial production.

After moving choppily in a range of 10,127-9,913, the BSE Sensex closed at 10,048, up 45 points or 0.45% over the previous close. Meanwhile, the S&P CNX Nifty rose 26 points or 0.86% to 3,109.

On the BSE, the market breadth was positive, with advancers outnumbering decliners by 1527 to 1018. The broad-based BSE 500 index moved up 1.23%, the small-cap index rose 1.59% and the mid-cap index gained 2.09%.

Significant buying was witnessed in the metal space. Stocks of steel manufacturers namely, SAIL surged up 7.02% and JSW soared 13.77% following reports that they have resumed normal production after cutting their output by as much as 40% in October.

Tata Steel jumped 9.13% following reports that it could partly roll back its recent production cut at UK subsidiary Corus, as there are some signs of a demand revival in Europe.

Among other major gainers in the metal space, Sesa Goa climbed 9.82%, Welspun Gujarat and Hindalco rallied more than 5% each, Ispat Industries gained 3.76%, NALCO advanced 2.07% and Sterlite Industries moved up 1.59%. Hindustan Zinc rose 3.49% after it increased the prices of zinc by 1.7% to Rs.77, 400 a tonne.

Select stocks in the healthcare, banking and auto sectors showed handsome gains, but IT stocks such as Infosys, Mphasis and Wipro ended in the red after the world's second-largest technology-consulting firm Accenture reported a drop in quarterly sales and lowered its profit forecast for 2009 due to a stronger dollar and a slower global economy.

Among oil-exploring companies, Cairn India and ONGC ended firm, but Reliance Industries fell 1.18% after crude oil price rose nearly 3% in New York trading on Thursday.

ICICI Bank rose 2.94% amid reports that ICICI Securities, the broking and advisory unit of the bank, has put its international expansion on hold due to the downturn in global markets. Maytas Infra gained 1.47% after IL&FS Financial Services raised its stake in the firm to 14.5%.

Strides Arcolab moved up 1.23% after a joint venture of the company and Sagent Pharma received nod from the US drug regulator for a new drug. Sasken Communication Technologies climbed 18.42% after the company signed a pact with British satellite communications firm Inmarsat to design global satellite hand-held phones.

Financial Technologies jumped 8.69% after the company clarified that both Fidelity and Citi still maintain their shareholding in MCX as permitted under government policy on foreign investment in commodity exchange.

Tata Motors jumped 9.32% on speculation that a decision by the National Advisory Committee to postpone the implementation of accounting standard AS-11 would help the company earn higher profits.

Sadbhav Engineering gained 2.26% after its board approved a resolution to raise Rs.125 crore by issuing equity shares or warrants on a rights basis. Lupin rose 1.21% after it bought a majority stake in Multicare Pharmaceuticals Philippines Inc, marking its foray into the $2.5 billion Philippines pharmaceuticals market.

ONGC moved up 0.42% on reports that it would not lower its domestic capital expenditure target due to falling oil prices, but will postpone its plan to make investments in Imperial Energy.

UTV Software Communications moved down 1.12% after the company said that Walt Disney Company South East Asia would acquire an additional 10% stake in UTV Global Broadcasting. BHEL slipped 1.19% despite bagging a Rs.345 crore contract from Nuclear Power Corp (NPCIL) to manufacture steam generators for its Kakrapara atomic power project in Gujarat.

Reliance topped the traded value with a turnover of Rs.299.37 crore followed by Financial Technologies (Rs.281.19 crore), Reliance Capital (Rs.197.59 crore), Reliance Infrastructure (Rs.188.64 crore) and Tata Steel (Rs.176.99 crore).

Reliance Natural Resources led the traded volume with trades of around 3.49 crore shares followed by Unitech (1.54 crore), GVK Power (1.32 crore), IFCI (99.15 lakh) and Cals Refineries (89.14 lakh).

The Indian economy is likely to grow 6.5 per cent or above in the current fiscal and in 2009-10, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said at the CII convention on Friday. On a calendar year basis, 2009 is going to be significantly bad than 2008, he said and added that the stimulus packages announced earlier will show their impact from the first quarter of the next financial year.

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