The Indian equity benchmarks, the BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty, are set to rise in opening trade on Thursday, following gains in Asian markets. The strong trends on SGX Nifty also indicated a positive opening for the domestic bourses, with SGX Nifty futures trading 101 points, or 0.59%, higher at 17,239 on the Singapore Stock Exchange at 8:10 AM.

On Wednesday, the Indian share market ended higher, snapping a five-session losing streak, led by strong gains in index heavyweights such as Reliance Industries, Infosys, TCS, and HDFC twins. However, continued foreign fund outflows in the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine crisis as well as concerns about rising inflation limited the market’s gain. The BSE Sensex rose 574.35 points, or 1.02%, to close at 57,037, and the NSE Nifty surged 178 points, or 1.05%, to settle at 17,136. The top performers on the BSE Sensex pack were UltraTech Cement, Maruti, Reliance Industries, Asian Paints, TCS, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Bharti Airtel, HDFC, and Dr Reddy’s.

Stocks to watch

HCL Tech, Nestle India: The companies will release their March quarter earnings reports today.

Future Retail: The crisis-hit Future Group company on Wednesday conducted a meeting of its shareholders to consider and approve the sale of the company's retail assets to Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Retail Ventures.

Tata Steel: The Tata group company said it will stop doing business with Russia in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. "Tata Steel does not have any operations or employees in Russia. We have taken a conscious decision to stop doing business with Russia," the steel maker said in a statement.

Reliance Industrial Infrastructure Ltd (RIIL): The Reliance Group firm on Wednesday reported a 65% drop in consolidated profit at ₹1.06 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2022. It had posted a consolidated profit of ₹3 crore in the year-ago period.

Interglobal Aviation (IndiGo): The country’s largest airline is hiring across functions after a gap of two years to expand its operations. The carrier said that the current hiring efforts are broad based and cover several functional roles.

Tata Power: The Tata group company is under the F&O ban today as the security has crossed 95% of the market-wide position limit.

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

U.S. stocks end mixed

In the overnight trade, the major U.S. indices closed on mixed note, with Dow Jones Industrial Average rising for the second straight session, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped due to fall in technology stocks. The market sentiment was supported by dip in bond yields and stabalisation of crude oil prices, while concerns about hawkish policy stance by U.S. Federal Reserve kept investors on edge. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.71%, the S&P 500 fell 0.06% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.22%.

Asian stocks trade mostly higher

Shares in the Asia-Pacific region traded mostly higher, barring China and Hong Kong, in opening deals as investors cheered fall in U.S. bond yields and correction in commodity prices. The stocks in mainland China dropped as Beijing’s cautious policy response to the Covid-19 pandemic dented market sentiments.

Japan’s benchmark index Nikkei 225 rose 1.15%, the Straits Times Index in Singapore climbed 0.56%, and Australia’s ASX 200 index added 0.3%. Similarly, South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.6% and Thailand’s SET Composite gained 0.3%.

Meanwhile, Hang Seng, the benchmark index of Hong Kong, fell 0.3%, while the Shenzhen Component and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China dropped 0.6% each as investors remained concerned about the Covid-19 situation in the country.

Oil prices rise over 1%

The price of Brent and U.S. crude oil rose over 1% in early trade on Thursday amid concerns over tight global supply, while was further amplified after Libya outages. However, drop in energy demand from China due to the coronavirus-led lockdown eased some concerns.

During the Asian trading hours on Thursday, the Brent oil for June delivery was up 0.97% to $107.84 per barrel, while the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 0.9% to $103.10 a barrel.

Meanwhile, oil retailers have kept petrol and diesel prices unchanged for the fifteenth straight day on Thursday, after several hikes in the last one month. The domestic oil companies have raised fuel rates by ₹10 per litre since the ending of a four-and-half-month long hiatus in rate revision on March 22, when the results of five Assembly polls were announced.

FIIs remain net sellers, DIIs net buyers

The foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net sellers in the Indian equity market on April 20, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) continued to support the market. As per the exchange data, FIIs offloaded shares worth ₹3,009.2 crore, while DIIs net purchased shares worth ₹2,645.8 crore.

Corporate earnings

The major companies that will release their earnings numbers today include HCL Technologies, Nestle India, L&T Technology Services, Tata Communications, ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company and CRISIL. Among others, Cyient, Rallis India, Sasken Technologies, Shiva Cement, Betala Global Securities, Rajratan Global Wire, Roni Households, Shukra Jewellers, S&T Corporation, and Trident Texofab will also unveil their results today.

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