Thursday, the Indian market may open higher, taking cues from Wall Street and in line with a firm trend in the other Asian markets this morning. While profit taking may keep the market volatile, industrial output data for February and inflation report, which will be released later in the day, could influence market movement.

Meanwhile, provisional data released by the National Stock Exchange showed that foreign funds bought shares worth Rs.573.33 crore on a net basis on Wednesday, while domestic financial institutions bought Rs.378.22 crore worth of shares.

Currently, markets across the Asia-Pacific region are trading higher. China's Shanghai Composite index is up 0.26%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index is rising 1.52%, Japan's Nikkei 225 index is gaining 1.84% and South Korea's KOSPI is moving up 2.52%.

After showing choppy trading for much of Wednesday's session, stocks on Wall Street ultimately closed higher for the day led by insurance and technology stocks. The uncertainty seen for most of the day came as investors responded to a mix of positive and negative news from both the economic and corporate fronts.

A deal announced in the housing sector and positive reaction to a speculation over the U.S. Treasury extending the TARP funding to the insurance sector helped the U.S. markets overlook the still-fluid economic conditions. The major averages closed off their best levels of the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.61%, the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.86% and the S&P 500 index closed up 1.18%.

The Indian ADRs also ended mostly higher, with the exception of Satyam Computers.Wipro jumped 10.71%, Sterlite Industries rallied 4.82%, MTNL added 5.2%, ICICI Bank advanced 4.54%, Reddy's Laboratories rose 4.44% and Infosys moved up 2.55%, but Satyam fell 3.92%.

In Asian trading, crude oil is currently up 1.20% at $49.97 a barrel in electronic trading After rallying to a high of $51.30 a barrel, light sweet crude for May delivery pared some of its gains and closed up $0.23 at $49.38 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday, after an Energy Information Administration data revealed a smaller-than-expected build in crude oil stockpiles from last week.

The rupee settled higher at Rs.50.19/20 against the dollar on Wednesday, off the day's low of Rs.50.67 and stronger than Monday's close of Rs.50.04/05. The forex market was shut on Tuesday for Mahavir Jayanti.

On Wednesday, shrugging off weak global cues, the Indian market reversed its early losses to finish sharply higher for the day. While losses in the U.S. and the Asian markets on worries over weak corporate earnings kept investor sentiment subdued in early trading, heavy buying in index heavyweights later in the day helped the market close near the day's high. The BSE Sensex rallied to the day's high of 10,778 before paring some of its gains to finish at 10,742, up 207 points or 1.97% over the previous close. Likewise, the S&P CNX Nifty rose 86 points or 2.65% to 3,343. Second-line stocks witnessed heavy buying.

Stocks to Watch

Reliance Industries (RIL) and ONGC could be in focus amid reports that RIL and ONGC Videsh could pick up a 20% stake each in at least one of three large oil fields in Venezuela's Carabobo region.

Gas Authority of India (GAIL) may see some activity following reports that it has signed gas transportation agreements with 3 fertilizer companies and that nine other fertilizer firms are also expected to sign the agreements in the next few days.

Ashok Leyland may move on reports that the Foreign Investment Promotion Board has approved a joint venture between John Deere and Ashok Leyland for construction equipment.

United Breweries could be in focus after foreign fund house Deutsche Securities Mauritius bought around 2.62 crore shares of the company in two bulk deals on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

ACC may see some activity on reports that it will spend Rs.29 billion on capacity expansion in 2009 and 2010.

Idea Cellular could move on reports that it has lined up an investment of about Rs.1, 000 crore in the next three years for its telecom operations in Orissa.

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