Monday, the Indian market may open flat with a negative bias amid mixed global cues. While the U.S. markets closed firmly in positive territory in reaction to the latest batch of corporate earnings and economic news on Friday, a few markets in the Asia-Pacific region are exhibiting weakness this morning.

Currently, Australia's All Ordinaries index is up 0.43% and Japan's Nikkei 225 is rising 0.79%, but China's Shanghai Composite index is down 1.20%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index is losing 2.50% and South Korea's KOSPI is down 0.88%.

Back home, underlying mood may remain upbeat due to support from foreign institutional investors, but volatility may persist on account of F&O expiry of April series contracts scheduled for Wednesday. Additionally, investors may take profits in a big way due to a truncated trading week. The market will remain shut on April 30 and May 1 on account of parliamentary elections and Labour Day respectively.

That said, stock-specific buying could be seen as investors focus on companies that are about to declare their March quarter results this week. Among the blue-chip companies, Jaiprakash Associates, Pantaloon India, Aditya Birla Nuvo, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam, Sterlite Industries, Reliance Communications, Infrastructure Development Finance Company, Reliance Capital, Titan Industries and Bharti Airtel among others will declare their March quarterly earnings in the forthcoming week. Earnings unveiled by Indian companies thus far have been mostly in line with market expectations.

Last week, the Indian market rose for the seventh straight week supported by consistent buying by foreign funds. Foreign institutional investors have invested close to Rs.4, 329 crore in April thus far, as per data released by the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

The benchmark BSE Sensex rose 306 points or 2.78% to 11,329, the highest closing level for the benchmark in more than six months and the S&P CNX Nifty closed at 3,481, up 96 points or 2.84% for the week. Second-line stocks outperformed large-caps for the third week in a row, with mid-cap index on the BSE gaining 3.67% and the small-cap index adding 2.95%.

Stocks to Watch

Steel-makers and automobile companies, which consume steel, may be in focus on reports that the government is considering imposing a safeguard duty of 25% on hot-rolled coils, sheets and strips from several countries, including China and Japan, to protect domestic producers from cheap imports.

ICICI Bank could be in the spotlight after the bank reported a 35% fall in its quarterly net profit in line with analysts' expectations.

Ranbaxy Laboratories may move on reports that it plans to scale down its operations in Europe due to cutthroat competition and pricing pressures in the region.

Punj Lloyd may see some activity following reports that it will shift its workforce from its UK-based subsidiary to India because of slowing down gas and oil business in the West.

IDBI Bank could move on reports that it is in discussions with the government to examine various fund raising options including a rights issue to meet the capital requirements in the next 2-3 years.

Tata Motors and SBI could be in focus on reports that the latter will stand guarantee to Tata Motor's planned Rs.2, 000 crore non-convertible debenture issue.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com