The SGX Nifty is indicating modest gains at the open for the Indian markets today although traders can expect it to be a volatile session ahead of the expiry of futures and options contracts of May series, due later in the day. Moreover, the US-China tensions and India's growing Covid-19 tally might cap the gains.
According to Worldometer, the number of coronavirus cases in India has now exceeded 1.53 lakh with 4,367 deaths reported so far.
Favourable global cues, however, are likely to give a lift to the Indian markets. US stocks rose on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 closing above 3,000 for the first time since March 5, as the further easing of lockdowns lifted optimism for an economic recovery. The Dow Jones rose 2.2 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 1.48 per cent, and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.77 per cent.
Asian shares also ticked up in early deals. South Korea's Kospi was up 0.6 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei gained 1.4 per cent and Australia's ASX jumped 2.2 per cent. However, a major source of worry for the investors will be the US response to China on the issue of Hong Kong.
In commodities, Brent crude futures was last down 1.73 per cent to $34.14 a barrel.
Beside these, corporate results will continue to flow in. A total of 24 companies, including TVS Motor, Lupin, and Federal Bank, are scheduled to announce their March quarter results today.
Now, let's move to some other top developments.
The government has, for the second time, extended the deadline for bidding for the BPCL's privatisation by over a month to July 31. The Cabinet had in November approved the sale of government's entire 52.98 per cent stake in BPCL.
Further, the central government is said to be assessing the cash position of state-owned companies and may ask them to ramp up dividend payouts and share buybacks as much as possible.
The Sebi is unlikely to agree to India Inc’s demand of waiving financial results disclosures for the first quarter of this financial year. Sources said the general consensus was that such a move would lead to information asymmetry and wouldn’t uphold the interests of minority investors.
And lastly, the Irdai has allowed the recently merged Punjab National Bank to hold promoter stake in two life insurance companies – PNB Metlife and Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance. The Delhi-based lender holds 30 per cent stake in PNB MetLife and 23 per cent in Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance.
Read by Kanishka Gupta