Overnight, Wall Street’s main indexes gained after a number of countries and US states eased restrictions in an attempt to revive their economies. The Dow Jones rose 0.56 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 0.9 per cent, and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.13 per cent.
In comparison, Asian stocks had a mixed start on Wednesday. While Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained half a per cent and South Korea's Kospi was up 1 per cent, Australia's ASX declined 0.8 per cent in early deals,
In commodities, Brent crude was trading a smidge lower at $30.7 a barrel.
Now, let's look at the top developments back home.
The Centre yesterday announced a steep Rs 10 per litre hike on excise duty on petrol while the same has been raised by Rs 13 per litre for diesel. Retail prices, however, will see no change as the price hike will be absorbed by oil marketing companies against the fall in crude prices.
On the results front, SBI Life Insurance reported an 8 per cent growth in pre-tax profit for the March 2020 quarter to Rs 522 crore while net profit jumped 16 per cent to Rs 531 crore. Adani Ports' Q4 profit fell 74 per cent to Rs 334.4 crore while revenue slipped to Rs 2,921 crore. Apart from these, investors will also react to the results of NIIT Tech, Rallis India, and others declared yesterday.
Today, a total of six companies, including YES Bank and Kansai Nerolac Paints, are set to declare their quarterly numbers.
Bank stocks are likely to be in focus today after Bank of America slashed price targets for domestic banking stocks, citing downside risks because of the deterioration in the economy. The brokerage downgraded its rating for State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, and IndusInd Bank and reduced its price target for HDFC Bank.
A separate Bloomberg report said the RBI has clarified to banks that it is not objecting to moratorium being offered to NBFCs and housing finance companies.
On the macro front, investors will watch for the Markit Services PMI data for April which will be released later in the day. In more sobering data, India's unemployment rate spiked to 27.11 per cent for the week ended May 3, up from the under 7 per cent level before the start of the pandemic in mid-March, a Mumbai-based think tank has said.
Meanwhile, the total number of coronavirus cases in India has reached 49,400 and 1,693 people have died so far. On Tuesday, India saw the biggest single-day spike with 3,900 cases and 195 deaths.
Telangana government yesterday extended the lockdown period till May 29 while Mumbai revoked permission for liquor shops following crowding and violation of social distancing norms in the last two days.
Read by: Kanishka Gupta