Thursday, the Indian market may open flat with a positive bias amid mixed global cues. Marketmen don't see a big downside in the short-term but volatility may persist due to uncertainty on the outcome of parliamentary elections.
On Wednesday, foreign funds sold shares worth a little over Rs. 1 crore on a net basis, while domestic institutions bought shares worth Rs.82.25 crore, according to provisional data released by the National Stock Exchange.
Traders look forward to inflation data scheduled to be released later in the day. Market heavyweight Reliance Industries would be in the spotlight ahead of its earnings announcement in the evening.
Overnight, the US markets closed mostly lower amid mixed corporate earnings from blue-chip companies. While AT&T, McDonald's and Yahoo! beat earnings estimates, there were at least a couple of disappointing report cards as well with Boeing and Morgan Stanley reeling out numbers that fell short of expectations. After experiencing considerable volatility over the course of the trading day, the major averages pulled back sharply going into the close, partly due to significant weakness that reemerged in the banking sector. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.04% and the S&P 500index declined 0.77%, but the Nasdaq managed to hold onto a modest gain, closing up 0.14%.
In economic news, the US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner hinted that policymakers might be forced to alter their recovery strategies as the global financial crisis drags on. He explained that the revised estimate from the International Monetary Fund for global growth could spark a change in policy. The IMF lowered its 2009 outlook, now predicating a contraction of 1.3 percent for the year compared to its previous estimate of 0.5 percent growth. We may have to adapt our policies further as conditions evolve, and we need to make sure we provide a scale of support that matches the intensity of the challenge, Geithner said.
The Indian ADRs also ended mixed. While ICICI Bank tumbled 3.37%, Sterlite Industries fell 3.29%, Satyam declined 3.08%, MTNL shed 2.74% and HDFC Bank lost 2.15%, Infosys gained 2.5%, Wipro rallied 4.41% and Reddy's Laboratories moved up 2.26%.
Crude oil reversed its early declines and settled moderately higher at $48.85 a barrel in New York trading on Wednesday, as gains in the stock market and positive forecast given by several corporate executives more than offset rising inventories in the United States. U.S. crude stockpiles jumped by 3.9 million barrels last week, above analysts' expectations, to hit a fresh 19-year high, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration
The rupee snapped a four-day losing streak and ended up 10 paisa at Rs.50.33 against the dollar on Wednesday, helped by hopes of revival of foreign inflows amid gains in other Asian currencies.
The Indian market finished Wednesday's session lower for the third day in a row as investors continued to take profits. A mixed trend in global markets also weighed on sentiment. After trading choppily in a range of 11,036-10,716, the BSE Sensex closed at 10,818, down 81 points or 0.74% over the previous close and the S&P CNX Nifty moved down 35 points or 1.04% to 3,330. Second-line stocks also moved in line with the benchmarks. Sector-wise, while realty, consumer durable and capital goods stocks bore the brunt of the selling, defensive FMCG and the IT sector closed in positive territory.
Banking stocks could be subdued as investors choose to wait for more details regarding the current status of major U.S. banks. Indian Overseas Bank could be in focus amid reports that it has restructured close to 90,000 accounts amounting to Rs.5, 000 crore to reduce NPAs and ease cash flow problems of companies.
IOC may be in focus on reports that it could report a net loss of Rs.233 crore for FY09 as it sold fuel below cost to protect the common man.
Bajaj Hindustan may move after the company decided to raise Rs 1,500 crore through institutional placement from the international markets.
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