Indian equity benchmarks are likely to open higher on Tuesday, mirroring solid cues from Asian peers which rose despite negative finish at Wall Street overnight amid the Fed's hawkish comments on inflation and rise in crude prices. The positive trends on SGX Nifty also indicated a gap-up opening for the domestic bourses, with SGX Nifty futures trading 16 points, or 0.1%, higher at 17,168 on the Singapore Stock Exchange at 7:55 AM.

On Monday, the domestic benchmark indices ended lower, snapping a three-session gaining streak amid losses in power and FMCG stocks. The subdued cues from global peers amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and fear of Moscow default on bond payments due this week also weighed on market sentiments. The 30-share Sensex ended 571 points, or 0.99%, lower at 57,292 levels. In a similar trend, the 50-share Nifty closed at 17,118, down 169 points or 0.98%. Among sectors, power and FMCG were the worst performers, while metal and healthcare gained the most. Power Grid Corporation, Asian Paints, UltraTech Cement, Nestle India, and Kotak Mahindra Bank were among the top five losers on the BSE Sensex pack.

Stocks to focus

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries: The pharma major has entered into a share purchase agreement with Japan's Daiichi Sankyo Company to acquire the latter's 11.28% stake in Zenotech Laboratories. The company will pay ₹5.32 crore for the stake.

Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL): The FMCG major is reportedly in talks with Mahashian Di Hatti Pvt. Ltd (MDH) to acquire a majority stake in the maker of MDH Spices.

Bank of India (BoI): The PSU lender has invested nearly ₹109 crore in National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL), an asset reconstruction company backed by the government. "We hereby inform that on March 21, 2022, bank has invested ₹108.81 crore in National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL), under preferential share issue," the bank said in a regulatory filing.

Zomato: The online food aggregator on Monday said it is planning to launch a service to deliver food in 10 minutes from next month, a model being followed by grocery companies such as Blinkit. The firm claimed that the fast delivery of food will reduce cost to end customers by 50% if the plan works as envisioned.

Larsen & Toubro: The board of the company will meet on March 24 to consider and approve raising funds through debt securities as part of the firm's refinancing programme.

Oil marketing companies (OMCs): The state-run oil companies have raised petrol and diesel pump prices by 0.8 rupees per litre on Tuesday in the backdrop of recent rise in international crude prices. This is the first fuel price hike since November 2, 2021.

Punjab National Bank: The board of the public sector lender will meet on March 29 to consider and approve the proposal of raising of capital through the issuance of Basel-III compliant additional tier-1 bonds and/or tier-2 bonds or a combination thereof, in one or more tranches for financial year 2022-23.

REC: A state-run infrastructure finance company on Monday approved a proposal to raise up to ₹85,000 crore in 2022-23 which includes ₹75,000 crore from different type of bonds, term loans, external commercial borrowing among others.

Strides Pharma Science: The pharma company has signed a sub-license agreement with Medicines Patent Pool to commercialise a generic version of Pfizer's COVID-19 oral treatment drug in 95 low and middle-income markets. The Pfizer product has been authorised as a COVID-19 oral therapy for emergency use in the US and other countries for high-risk adults and pediatric patients.

Shankara Building Products: The hardware company’s Managing Director Sukumar Srinivas on Monday sold over 10 lakh shares of the company for ₹75 crore through an open market transaction. As per the block deal data on NSE, Srinivas sold 10 lakh shares at an average price of ₹755 apiece.

Here are the key things investors should know before the market opens today:

Wall Street slides on Fed Chairman rate comment

Snapping four-session gaining streak, all three major U.S. indices closed lower on Monday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated a more aggressive tightening of monetary policy to counter rising inflation. The uncertainties regarding Russia-Ukraine conflict and rise in oil prices also injected negativity in the market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.58%, the S&P 500 shed 0.04%, and the Nasdaq Composite ended 0.4% lower.

Asian stocks trade higher

Shares in the Asia-Pacific region edged higher in opening trade on Tuesday, undermining weak cues from Wall Street, as investors kept a close eye on progress in negotiating talk to end the Russia-Ukraine war. Regional heavyweights Japan, Hong Kong, and Shanghai rose in early trade.

Japan’s benchmark index Nikkei 225 rallied 1.7%, the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong surged 0.65%, and South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.7%.

In a similar trend, the Straits Times Index in Singapore gained 0.1% and Australia’s ASX 200 index traded 1.2% higher.

In mainland China, the Shenzhen Component shed 0.4%, while the Shanghai Composite traded flat with positive bias.

Petrol, diesel prices raised amid rally in Brent crude

Petrol and diesel prices were hiked by over 80 paise a litre on Tuesday in wake of the continued rise in the international crude oil market. This was the first fuel price hike since November 2, 2021, when the government had cut excise duty to keep the fuel rates in check.

In the overnight trade, global benchmark Brent crude surged 8% to $116.53 a barrel, as the European Union weighed joining the United States in banning Russian oil imports, raising supply concerns.

In the Asian trading hours on Tuesday, the U.S. WTI crude futures rose 2.5% to $112.7 a barrel, while the Brent oil futures climbed 2.52% to $118.5 per barrel.

FIIs turn net seller, DIIs remain net buyer

After buying in two sessions, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) turned net sellers in the Indian equity market on March 21, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) remained net buyers. As per the exchange data, FIIs net sold shares worth ₹2,962.1 crore, while DIIs net purchased shares worth ₹252.9 crore.

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