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      India's key share index breach 8,400-level:

      Posted AtNew Kerala

      India's booming stock market crossed yet another milestone of 8,400 for the first time in history Monday, defying predictions of a correction in view of the sharp bull-run in recent weeks.

      Dealers said the market opened for the day on a positive note as overseas and domestic fund investors rushed into the trading ring to pick up index heavyweights like State Bank of India and Hindustan Lever.

      At around noon, the stock market barometer 30-share Bombay Stock Exchange sensitive index or Sensex was trading at 8,441.65, representing a gain of 60.69 points or 0.72 percent over its previous session's close.

      The stock market had closed in the positive zone for the third consecutive week ended Friday by touching a new all-time high of 8,380.96 on across the board institutional buying interest.

      "The market is mainly being supported at such high levels by strong foreign fund inflows and softening global crude oil prices," said Deepak Shah, an equities analyst with brokerage firm Pranav Securities.

      "With the index even breaching the 8,400-level without facing any major roadblocks, I think the next resistance level can come only at 8,500. A correction at this level will be good for the overall health of the market," Shah told IANS.

      "Although the market rally is based on positive fundamentals, retail investors should exercise full caution at such high levels."

      The market rally in early trade Monday was supported by stocks of aluminium, auto, banks, cement, engineering, pharmaceuticals and power companies.

      The index breached the magical 8,000 mark a couple of weeks back for the first time in the 130-year history of the Indian capital market.

      The benchmark index has been touching record levels almost every day since it breached the 7,000-level in June this year, making it one of the best performing markets globally.

      India's blue-chip equities had soared sharply in the past few months on massive inflows of overseas funds and hopes that a normal monsoon would boost economic growth in the current year.

      The market has ignored adverse developments like record high oil prices in the international market and the government's flip-flop on key reform measures.

      Experts say the bullish trend on the bourses will continue despite a possible correction on sustained investments by overseas funds, who are betting on robust economic and corporate earnings growth.

      Heavyweight new as well as old economy companies like Infosys Technologies and Hero Honda Motors will start unveiling their second quarter numbers from the first week of September.

      Foreign funds, considered the backbone of India's liquidity starved capital market, have collectively put in a record over $8 billion in the current year so far, as against $8.5 billion in the whole of previous year.

      A slew of overseas fund managers are looking to make their fortune in India as Asia's third largest economy sheds its decades of casino-like stock trading practices in favour of world-class regulatory systems.

      The number of foreign institutional investors (FIIs) doing business in India has risen to 764 at the end of August from 685 at the end of the financial year 2004-05, according to the capital market regulator.

      September 19, 2005


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