Indian equity benchmarks, the BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty, are poised to start the week on a bearish note, tracking weakness in Asian peers amid concerns about fresh Covid-19 outbreak in China. The weak trends on SGX Nifty also indicated a gap-down opening for the domestic bourses, with SGX Nifty futures trading 102 points, or 0.57%, lower at 17,794 on the Singapore Stock Exchange at 8:10 AM. The major catalyst for the markets would be the kick-off of earnings season, with IT major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) releasing its results today, followed by Infosys on April 13.

Last week, the domestic bourses ended lower, dented by weak macro data, status quo by the RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das-led monetary policy committee (MPC) and a hike in petrol and diesel prices further amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The 30-share index Sensex ended lower by 170 points, or 0.29%, at 59,447. Likewise, the 50-share Nifty index dropped 114 points, or 0.64%, to 17,784. The combined market valuation of four of the 10 most valued firms tumbled ₹1.06 lakh crore last week, with IT majors TCS and Infosys emerging as the biggest laggards. While the market valuation of Reliance Industries, TCS, Infosys, and Bajaj Finance declined, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, HUL, SBI, HDFC, and Bharti Airtel emerged as the gainers with a combined addition of ₹51,628 crore.

Stocks to focus:

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS): The IT major-led consortium has reportedly bagged a Rs 550 crore order from BSNL for deploying indigenously-designed 4G network. The TCS consortium will initially deploy 6,000 mobile towers for BSNL 4G services. The company is also set to release its quarterly earnings numbers today.

Cadila Pharmaceuticals: The pharmaceutical major on Friday has said it has developed the world's first novel three-dose vaccine against rabies. The three-dose vaccine, named as 'ThRabis', is a recombinant nano-particle based G protein vaccine which is prepared using Virus-like Particle technology.

Tata Motors: The auto major’s U.K.-based subsidiary, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), has reported 36% decline in retail sales at 79,008 units in the fourth quarter of 2021-22 fiscal as compared with same period last year.

Jindal Steel and Power: The steel and energy company plans to set up a coal gasification plant at its Raigarh plant in Chhattisgarh, as per company’s official.

Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T): The HAL and L&T consortium has emerged as the lowest price bidder for making five Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) XL variant rocket out of the three who had bid.

Bandhan Bank: European financial services group Societe Generale has acquired 1.18% in the private sector lender via open market transactions.

Shoppers Stop: The department store chain has completed the further sale of 19.50% of stake in Crossword Bookstores.

Veranda Learning Solutions: The educational company will make its debut on the BSE and the NSE today.

Axis Bank, IDBI Bank: The Reserve Bank of India has levied a fine of ₹93 lakh on Axis Bank and ₹90 lakh on IDBI Bank for non-compliance of guidelines.

Wipro: The IT services company has appointed Anis Chenchah as a member of the Wipro Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer, of APMEA (Asia Pacific, India, Middle East and Africa).

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

Wall Street ended mixed

On Wall Street, the major U.S. indices mixed on Friday as investors evaluated the economic outlook amid geo-political tensions and hawkish policy stance by the Federal Reserve to combat inflation. Investors weighed the Fed's March meeting minutes which indicated that "many" officials proposed to raise rates by 50 basis points in coming months. The S&P 500 closed 0.27% lower, the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.34%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4%.

Asian stocks down in opening trade

Shares in the Asia-Pacific region were flashing in red on Monday morning as the prospect of aggressive rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the fresh Covid-19 outbreak in China triggered sell-off in the market. The mixed cues from Wall Street also dented market sentiment.

Regional heavyweight Japan’s benchmark index Nikkei 225 traded lower by 0.6% and South Korea’s KOSPI fell 0.3%. Hong Kong's benchmark index, the Hang Seng, plunged 1.9%, Taiwan’s Weighted index dipped 0.3%, and the Straits Times Index in Singapore fell 0.6%. Bucking the trend, Australia’s ASX 200 index was up 0.2%, while

In mainland China, the Shenzhen Component and the Shanghai Composite tumbled 2.1% and 1.3%, respectively, amid concerns about rising Covid-19 cases.

Brent crude oil falls below $100

The price of Brent and U.S. crude oil slipped below $100 per barrel in early trade on Monday amid the release of oil from strategic reserves to fill the supply gap, while the fresh Covid-19 outbreak in China and Fed’s aggressive policy stance impacted the demand outlook.

During the Asian trading hours on Monday, the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 2.65% at $95.7 a barrel, while the Brent oil futures dropped 2.6% to $100.1 per barrel.

Meanwhile, petrol and diesel prices have been kept unchanged for the fifth consecutive session on Monday, after several hikes in the last 19 days. 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.

FPIs turn net buyers in April so far

The foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) have turned net buyers in the Indian stock market in April, snapping a six-month losing streak, investing ₹7,707 crore in Indian equities so far this month. In the financial year 2021-22, the FPIs withdrew a net ₹1.4 lakh crore from domestic equities.

FIIs, DIIs turn net sellers

On Friday, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and domestic institutional investors (DIIs) turned net sellers in the Indian equity market. As per the exchange data, FIIs offloaded shares worth ₹575 crore, while DIIs net purchased shares worth ₹16.5 crore.

Corporate earnings

IT bellwether Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the country’s largest software exporter, will release its fourth quarter and annual earnings numbers. Among others, Birla Tyres, Delta Corp, Elnet Technologies, Kesoram Industries, and Lasa Supergenerics will also unveil their quarterly results.

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