Indian equity benchmarks are poised to start the financial year 2022-23 on a bearish note, following negative cues from Asian peers and an overnight fall on Wall Street amid concerns about Russia-Ukraine conflict. The negative trends on SGX Nifty also indicated a gap-down opening for the domestic bourses, with SGX Nifty futures trading 109 points, or 0.62%, lower at 17,427 on the Singapore Stock Exchange at 8:00 AM.

Snapping three session gaining streak, the domestic benchmark indices closed lower on the last day of the fiscal 2021-22 as investors resorted to profit-taking in index heavyweights such as Reliance Industries, Infosys, and HDFC Bank. The 30-share BSE Sensex dropped 115.48 points or 0.20% to settle at 58,568, amid the expiry of monthly derivatives contracts. The NSE Nifty fell 33.50 points or 0.19% to settle at 17,464. Among the 30-share pack, Reliance Industries fell the most, followed by Wipro, Dr Reddy’s, Sun Pharma, HDFC Bank, UltraTech Cement, and Infosys.

Stocks to watch:

Bharti Airtel, Tech Mahindra: The two companies have announced a strategic partnership to co-develop and market enterprise-grade digital solutions across 5G, private networks and cloud.

Ruchi Soya: The Patanjali Ayurved-owned company on Thursday fixed the issue price of its follow-on public offer at the upper limit of its price band at ₹650 per equity share. The company had fixed a price band at ₹615-650 per share to raise ₹4,300 crore via FPO.

Vodafone Idea: The telecom major on Thursday said its board has approved the allotment of 3.38 billion equity shares at ₹13.30 apiece to three promoters group entities - Euro Pacific Securities, Prime Metals and Oriana Investments - for about ₹4,500 crore.

Vedanta: The mining giant has received its board approval to source 580 MW of green energy for its operations across India. It has inked a power delivery agreement with the Sterlite Power Technologies.

SpiceJet: The airline has signed a pact with Credit Suisse to settle $24 million dispute. The carrier has already deposited $5 million to Credit Suisse on the direction of the Madras High Court to avoid possible liquidation.

Future Retail: The Kishore Biyani-led company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sadashiv Nayak on Thursday resigned, just seven months after his appointment. The cash-strapped company has defaulted on debt payments several times in recent past.

Hindustan Zinc: The mining company has proposed to invest ₹350 crore to develop up to 200 megawatt (MW) renewable energy capacity via a special purpose vehicle.

Raymond: The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has given nod to the scheme of transfer of Raymond Apparel business to Raymond Ltd. In September last year, the board of Raymond had approved demerging the B2C business, including apparels, of Raymond Apparel Ltd (RAL).

IndiGo: The low-budget carrier has reportedly partially reinstated salaries of its pilots following the normalisation of its operations. It had announced a 28% pay cut for pilots in 2020 due to suspension of operations in the wake of the pandemic.

Max Healthcare Institute: Private equity firm KKR's affiliate firm Kayak Investment offloaded 10% shares in the company for nearly ₹3,300 crore.

Lupin: The drug major said that its New Jersey facility has received thirteen observations from the U.S. drug regulator.

ONGC: The oil and gas major is set to open a gas producing basin, Vindhyan, as it details out commercialisation of a gas discovery in Madhya Pradesh. This would be the ninth producing Basin of India (and) the eighth by ONGC.

Exide Industries: The battery manufacturer on Thursday announced an investment of Rs 6,000 crore in Karnataka for setting up one of the largest giga factories for advanced cell chemistry technology.

Gail (India): The oil major has received its board approval to buyback 57 million shares at ₹190 apiece aggregating to ₹1,083 crore. The buyback is at a 22% premium to Wednesday closing price.

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

Wall Street falls overnight

In the overnight trade, all three major U.S. stocks ended lower for the second straight session amid persistent concerns about Russia-Ukraine conflict which may add inflationary pressure on the economy, resulting in a more aggressive policy stance by the Federal Reserve. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.56%, the S&P 500 dropped 1.57%, and the Nasdaq Composite ended 1.54% lower.

Asian shares follow Wall Street lower

Shares in the Asia-Pacific region opened mostly lower on Friday, following a negative finish at Wall Street overnight. The stocks lost momentum amid fading hopes of peace talk between Moscow and Kyiv as Russian troops continued shelling and missile strikes in northern Ukraine, despite Russia’s claim to have scaled back its offensive around that city and Kyiv.

Japan’s benchmark index Nikkei 225 was down 0.7% in early trade, while South Korea’s KOSPI slipped 0.5%.

Hong Kong's benchmark index, the Hang Seng, plunged 1.3%, the Straits Times Index in Singapore fell 0.1%, and Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite traded marginally lower. Taiwan Weighted index and Thailand’s SET Composite were down 0.75% and 0.2%, respectively.

In mainland China, the Shenzhen Component and the Shanghai Composite rose 1.1% and 0.4%, respectively. Australia’s ASX 200 index gained 0.14%.

Oil prices slide 7% on U.S. plan to release crude reserve

The price of Brent crude, the global benchmark, skid 7% overnight to slip below $100 per barrel after the U.S. government announced the release of the largest ever crude from its strategic petroleum reserve to bring down oil prices that have skyrocketed following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned to halt gas supply to Europe unless it will be paid in rubles. The U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dropped 7% to $100.28 a barrel, while the Brent oil futures tumbled 4.8% to $107.91 per barrel.

During the Asian trading hour on Friday, the U.S. WTI crude futures were down 0.58% at $99.70 a barrel, while the Brent oil futures slipped 0.4% to $104.25 per barrel.

Meanwhile, the domestic oil marketing companies have kept petrol and diesel prices unchanged on Friday after raising rates by ₹6.4 per litre in the last ten days. However, jet fuel prices were hiked by 2% to an all-time high on Friday, in wake of the rise in global crude prices. Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) was raised by ₹2,258.54 per kilolitre, or 2%, to ₹ 1,12,924.83 per kl in the Delhi region.

FIIs, DIIs turn net buyers

The foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and domestic institutional investors (DIIs) remained net buyers in the Indian equity market on March 31. As per the exchange data, FIIs net purchased shares worth ₹3,088.73 crore, while DIIs net bought shares worth ₹1,145.28 crore.

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