Indian benchmark indices, the BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty, are expected to open on a muted note on Friday, tracking mixed cues from Asian peers, as investors remain on edge ahead of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) monetary policy announcement later today. The subdued trends on SGX Nifty also indicated a flat opening for the domestic bourses, with SGX Nifty futures trading 12 points, or 0.07%, higher at 17,750 on the Singapore Stock Exchange at 8:10 AM. Investors will keep a close eye on the RBI policy meeting outcome, which will set the tone for the domestic bourses. Traders will also evaluate the prospect of more aggressive policy actions by the U.S. central bank and new sanctions on Russia by the U.S. and its western allies.

On Thursday, the domestic bourses continued the losing streak for the third straight session, weighed down by negative global cues and caution ahead of the RBI's monetary policy statement. The 30-share Sensex dropped 575 points to end at 59,035, and the Nifty50 dropped 168 points to 17,639. In the broader market, the BSE smallcap and the midcap index dipped 0.75% and 0.42%, respectively. HDFC and HDFC Bank emerged as the biggest losers for the second consecutive session with a nearly 3% loss. Titan topped the losers’ chart by falling 3.24%, followed by Wipro, TCS, Reliance Industries, Power Grid, among others.

Stocks to focus

Rate-sensitive stocks: Interest rate sensitive stocks such as banking, auto, and realty will be in focus in the backdrop of the RBI policy announcement.

Punjab & Sind Bank: The PSU bank has signed a deal to sell its 8% stake in India SME Asset Reconstruction Company in favour of Dhansamridhi Finance.

NTPC: The state-run power utility company will form an equal joint venture with Maharashtra State Power Generation Company to set up an ultra mega solar park in Maharashtra with 2500 MW generation capacity.

Infosys: The IT major in collaboration with Rolls-Royce and has launched a joint 'Aerospace Engineering and Digital Innovation Centre' in Bengaluru.

SpiceJet: The Delhi High Court has granted interim protection from arrest to SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh in a case of an alleged fraud related to the transfer of shares of the airline to certain individuals.

Tata Steel: The steel major has said the Kolkata bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has approved the resolution plan submitted by its wholly-owned subsidiary Tata Steel Mining Limited, for the acquisition of debt-laden Rohit Ferro-Tech Limited.

Mahindra & Mahindra: The auto major said on Thursday that a deal to sell its bankrupt unit, SsangYong Motor Co, to South Korean electric carmaker Edison Motors Co had been terminated. The company has cited Edison's inability to deposit the bid amount for the termination of the deal.

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

Wall Street ends higher in choppy trade

Snapping two sessions losing streak, all three major U.S. indices closed higher in choppy trade overnight. The indices traded at a loss for much of the day before late buying by investors by the end of the session. The uncertainty about the war in Ukraine and a fear of a more aggressive policy stance by the Federal Reserve left investors jittery. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.25% higher, the S&P 500 rose 0.43%, and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.06%.

Asian stocks trade mixed

Shares in the Asia-Pacific region traded mixed in opening deals on Friday, undermining positive closing at Wall Street overnight as investors continued to weigh the economic impact of Russia-Ukraine conflict and the U.S. Fed’ plan to raise rates aggressively to contain inflation.

Japan’s benchmark index Nikkei 225 slipped 0.3%, paring opening gains, while South Korea’s KOSPI dropped 0.12%. Hong Kong's benchmark index, the Hang Seng, fell 0.95% and the Straits Times Index in Singapore tumbled 0.5%.

Bucking the trend, Taiwan’s Weighted index gained 0.5%, Australia’s ASX 200 index climbed 0.65%, while Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite added 0.55%.

In mainland China, the Shenzhen Component and the Shanghai Composite fell 0.6% each in opening trade.

Oil prices hover around $100 a barrel

The crude oil prices were hovering around $100 a barrel as investors assess what lockdowns in China and further release of oil from emergency reserves will do to global supply and demand.

During the early trading hours on Friday, the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for May contracts were down 0.5% at $95.56 a barrel, while the Brent oil futures dropped 0.6% to $100 per barrel.

Meanwhile, petrol and diesel prices remained unchanged for the second day, after several hikes in the last 16 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.

FIIs continue selling spree, DIIs remain net buyers

The foreign institutional investors (FIIs) continued their selling spree in the Indian equity market on April 7, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) remained net buyers. As per the exchange data, FIIs offloaded shares worth ₹5,009.62 crore, while DIIs net brought shares worth ₹ 1,774.70 crore.

RBI policy announcement

The Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will announce policy decisions today following the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting. The RBI governor Shaktikanta Das-led MPC is expected to maintain the status quo on interest rates in its forthcoming monetary policy review amidst economic uncertainties created by the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the world's largest exporter of oil to global markets. The central bank, however, may revise downward the GDP estimates in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis and raise the inflation forecast as it stayed above the RBI’s 6% upper limit in the last two months.

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