RTTNews - The Indian market is likely to open higher on Thursday amid gains in Asian stocks this morning. Bargain hunting following losses in the previous two sessions may also offer some support, although intermittent profit taking is not ruled out.

IT stocks could be in the spotlight after the Nasdaq Composite index rose for the 11th straight session overnight, buoyed by better-than-expected profits from Apple Inc and Starbucks Corp.

Besides global cues, quarterly earnings announcements from several bluechip companies such as Bharti, ACC, Ambuja Cements, ITC, Siemens, Maruti Suzuki and ONGC, could influence trading for the day.

Despite a higher tax refund outgo and a high base effect, India's direct tax collections grew a modest 3.65 percent to Rs.59,465 crore during the first quarter of the current financial year, an official statement said on Wednesday. Corporate tax collections during the period also grew 3.31 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks finished on a mixed note on low volumes overnight amid mixed reaction to earnings reports, as most firms met or beat estimates by cost cutting rather than through growth in revenue. In economic news, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reiterated that the U.S. economy is showing signs of stabilization, although he noted that the economy is still in a fragile state, with unemployment high and consumer spending shaky. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.39% and the S&P 500 index slipped 0.05%, but the Nasdaq Composite ended up 0.53%.

Among the Indian ADRs, Reddy's Laboratories fell 3.33%, HDFC Bank eased 2.31%, ICICI Bank declined 2.18% and Infosys slipped 0.98%, while Mahindra Satyam rose 2.52%, Sterlite Industries advanced 1.32% and MTNL and Wipro ended up around 0.5% each.

Crude oil prices dropped for the first time in six sessions on Wednesday, as investors mulled data released by the Energy Information Administration on weekly inventories. Commercial crude oil stocks in the United States fell by 1.8 million barrels last week on the back of a drop in imports and a rise in distillate supplies to their highest levels in nearly 25 years, the report showed. After settling at $65.40 a barrel, down 21 cents in New York trading on Wednesday, light sweet crude for September delivery rose modestly to $65.58 a barrel in Asian trading.

The rupee gave up early gains and ended lower for the second day in a row on Wednesday at Rs.48.52/53 against the dollar, down 0.2 percent after the domestic stock market tumbled in mid-session trading. However, in early trading on Thursday, the rupee rose to 48.41 against the dollar, up 0.22% from the previous close.

The Indian market tumbled in mid-session trading after a robust start on Wednesday, as weak European markets and lower U.S. index futures led to further profit taking following sharp gains in recent sessions. After moving between a high of 15,369 and the day's low of 14,787, the BSE Sensex finished at 14,843, down 219 points or 1.46% from its previous close, while the S&P CNX Nifty fell 70 points or 1.57% to 4,399.

The broad-based BSE 500 index fell 1.37%, the mid-cap index moved down 0.97% and the small-cap index shed a modest 0.35%. On the BSE, losers outnumbered gainers by 1373 to 1231, with 98 stocks closing unchanged. Stocks across the sectors ended in the red.

Stocks to Watch

Tech Mahindra's consolidated net profit dropped 49% year-over-year amid higher interest costs and forex losses.

Cost rationalization lifted Mastek's net profit by 6% sequentially despite revenues falling below expectations.

A probe panel looking into the crane mishap at a Delhi Metro held Gammon India responsible for the incident. Mismanagement and a lack of professionalism from its part resulted in the incident, the report said.

The Prime Minister's office has sought comments from the petroleum ministry on allegations by Anil Ambani that it was siding with Mukesh-led Reliance industries in an ongoing gas dispute, reports suggest.

Housing finance company HDFC proposed to raise up to Rs 4,000 crore through the issue of warrants and secured redeemable non-convertible debentures to qualified institutional buyers.

India Cements announced a 1.5-million tonnes (mt) cement plant with a 20 MW power plant in Rajasthan. Its net profit after adjustments for the June quarter improved modestly to Rs. 144.28 crore from Rs. 142.14 crore in the corresponding period last year.

Drug maker Piramal Healthcare reported a 25% growth in its June-quarter consolidated net profit.

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