Indian benchmarks BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty are set to fall in opening trade on Thursday as global equities reacted sharply to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s aggressive policy stance. The U.S. central bank hiked the interest rate by 0.75% for the third straight time, taking the policy rate to 3-3.25%. The apex bank also vowed to continue this path of policy tightening to curb inflation, expecting the policy rate to rise to 4.4% by year's end and 4.6% by the end of 2023. The weak trends on SGX Nifty also indicated a weak opening for the domestic bourses, with SGX Nifty futures trading 147 points, 0.8%, lower at 17,568 levels on the Singapore Stock Exchange at 8:10 AM. 

Snapping a two-session gaining streak, the Indian equity benchmarks ended lower on Wednesday, following mixed cues from global peers as investors turn cautious ahead of the crucial U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy meeting outcome. The 30-share BSE Sensex dropped 263 points, or 0.44%, to settle at 59,457. Similarly, the NSE Nifty fell 98 points, or 0.55%, to close at 17,718. The top losers on the Sensex pack were IndusInd Bank, PowerGrid, UltraTech Cement, L&T, NTPC, HCL Technologies, Dr Reddy's, TCS, and Bharti Airtel. On the other hand, Hindustan Unilever, ITC, Bajaj Finance, Tech Mahindra, Reliance Industries, Mahindra & Mahindra, Nestle India, and HDFC Bank were the notable gainers.

Stocks to watch

Reliance Industries: The retail arm of Mukesh Ambani-led company is reportedly in talks to acquire the India rights for premium makeup and beauty retail chain Sephora, a part of French luxury company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, from Arvind Fashions.

Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone: Billionaire Gautam Adani-led company has been selected to develop the Tajpur deep sea port, as per a statement issued by the West Bengal government. The greenfield project will be developed with a total investment of ₹25,000 crore, of which ₹15,000 crore will go toward port development and the rest will be utilized for building related infrastructure.

IDBI Bank: The bank has sold its entire stake in Ageas Federal Life Insurance Company to partner Ageas Insurance International NV. In May this year, the bank had signed a pact to sell its entire stake in Ageas Federal Life Insurance Company to Ageas Insurance International NV.

Future Enterprises Ltd (FEL): The crisis-hit company has defaulted on payment of interest on non-convertible debentures amounting to ₹15.73 crore. The due date for payment was September 20, 2022.

Punjab National Bank: The state-owned lender has raised ₹658 crore by issuing Basel III compliant additional Tier-1 bonds at a coupon rate of 8.3% per annum, on a private placement basis.

SpiceJet: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has extended the cap on SpiceJet flights by a month as a matter of "abundant caution". On July 27, the aviation regulator had ordered SpiceJet to operate a maximum of 50% of its flights capacity, owing to a series of incidents involving its flights.

Wipro: The IT major has reportedly fired 300 employees, who were found to be working for one of its rivals at the same time.

Ashoka Buildcon: The real estate firm has secured a contract worth ₹258.12 crore from South Western Railway for the construction of a new BG line. The project includes electrical and telecommunication works in engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) mode.

Heritage Foods: The board of directors of the company will meet on September 30 to consider raising funds by way of the issue of equity shares on a rights issue basis.

NSE F&O ban: Ambuja Cements, Escorts, PVR, Can Fin Homes, Delta Corp, and RBL Bank will be under the NSE F&O ban today.

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

Wall Street falls as Fed hikes rate

All three major U.S. indices ended sharply lower on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve raised the key interest rate again and said it would continue the path of a rate hike to tackle persistent inflation. The central bank increased the interest rate by 0.75 basis points for its third straight month, taking the policy rate to 3-3.25%. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement noted that officials were "strongly committed to returning inflation to its 2% objective", which is currently hovering around a 4-decade high of 9%. Following the policy announcement, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 1.7% lower, the S&P 500 shed 1.7%, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.8%.

Asian shares decline

Shares in the Asia-Pacific region were under stress in early trade on Thursday, tracking sharp selling on Wall Street overnight as the Federal Reserve continued its aggressive policy stance to fight inflation by hiking interest rates. The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes crossed 3.5%, while the dollar hit a fresh two-decade high after the Fed raised its interest rate by 0.75% last night. Investors fear that the Fed's aggressive approach to cool U.S. inflation may push the world’s largest economy into a recession as a higher rate would impact consumer spending. 

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was the worst performer in the regional market with a 1.8% loss, followed by Taiwan’s Weighted index, which dropped 1.5%.

Japan’s benchmark index Nikkei 225 shed 1%, South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.3%, and the Straits Times in Singapore dipped 0.2%. Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite was also trading lower by 0.4%.

Markets in mainland China were down marginally lower, with the Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component falling by 0.1% each.

DIIs turn net buyers, FIIS net sellers

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) turned as net sellers in the Indian equity market on September 21, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) remained net buyers. As per the exchange data, FIIs net sold shares worth ₹461.04 crore, while DIIs net brought stocks worth ₹538.53 crore.

Crude prices edge higher

The crude prices moved in a narrow range with a positive bias during early Asian trade on Thursday, after falling 0.5% in the overnight trade amid concerns that a slowdown in the global economy would dent future fuel demand. The market also reacted to a lower-than-expected rise in the U.S. crude oil inventories last week.

At the time of reporting, the Brent oil for November delivery surged 0.6% to $90.40 per barrel, while the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude October futures climbed 0.5% to $83.37 a barrel.

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