Retail stocks shine in lacklustre market

Mumbai : Indian equities came under heavy selling pressure and volatility Friday, resulting in a key index fluctuating in a broad range of over 200 points, even as retail stocks soared on the back of a government decision on foreign equity the evening before.

The sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) opened sharply lower at 15,781.25 points, against the previous close at 15,858.49 points and within 15 minutes fell to a low of 15,672.19.

A recovery thereafter took the key index above the red zone to 15,891.05 points before dropping again slightly to 15,836.48 points, with a loss of 22.01 points, ot 0.14 percent over the previous close.

Fourteen of the 30 Sensex stocks were in the green while 16 others were trading lower.

But retail stocks bucked the trend, opening on a strong note on the back of the decision to open up the sector further with up to 51 percent foreign equity in multi-brand format and 100 percent in single brand stores.

Within minutes of opening bell at the Bombay Stock Exchange, the shares of Pantaloon Retail were trading at Rs.231.65 with a gain of as much as 15.48 percent, while those of Vishal Retail were quoting at Rs.22.6 with a gain of 19.89 percent.

Analysts said the move to allow foreign equity will bring much cheer to Indian firms in the sector, which are heavily in debt, preventing any meaningful inflow of capital for expansion.

India’s federal cabinet Thursday allowed global chains like Wal-Mart, Carrefour and 7-Eleven to bring up to 51 percent foreign equity to open multi-brand retail stores and allowed 100-percent equity in single brand format.

Shoppers Stop stocks were also up 10.89 percent at Rs.412.80, and those of Koutons were higher by 13.59 percent at Rs.24.65.

Shares of Provogue, Store One Retail, Archies and Cantabil were also trading higher over the previous day’s close, though the Fame India was initially in the red before gaining 5.81 percent at Rs.42.80.

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