Indian benchmark indices, the BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty, are likely to open flat on Tuesday, undermining firm cues from global peers amid persistent concerns about rising cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. The muted trends on SGX Nifty also signalled a flat opening for the Indian equities, with SGX Nifty futures trading 3 points, or 0.02%, lower at 17,679 on the Singapore Stock Exchange at 8:05 AM.

On Monday, Indian benchmark indices started the new trading year on a robust note, with the BSE Sensex ending 929 points, or 1.6%, higher at 59,183. In a similar trend, the NSE Nifty rallied 271 points, or 1.57%, to close at 17,625 on the first day of the new calendar year 2022. The market sentiment was also lifted by the rise in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection last month, which indicated a surge in consumption activities in the economy. The market sustained a strong rally even as India's manufacturing activity lost some steam in December, with the Manufacturing PMI dropping to a three-month low of 55.5. Barring healthcare, all sectors ended in positive terrain, while bank and metal space gained the most. Out of 30 stocks on the BSE Sensex pack, Bajaj Finance emerged as a top performer by ending 3.5% higher. Some of the other top gainers included Bajaj Finserv, ICICI Bank, Tata Steel, IndusInd Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, SBI, TCS, HDFC, RIL, HDFC, among others.

Individual companies that will be in focus on Tuesday include Lemon Tree Hotels, Reliance Industries, Hindustan Zinc, Vedanta, Dilip Buildcon, NCC, GAIL India, and others.

Lemon Tree Hotels: Goldman Sachs (Singapore) Pte has acquired over 30 lakh equity shares in the company at ₹46.6 per share through a block deal on the BSE.

Reliance Industries: The company’s telecom arm, Reliance Jio, has reportedly received approval to use equipment from various vendors, including Ericsson and Nokia, for 5G services.

Hindustan Zinc: Shares of Vedanta group firm will be in focus after it reported a 11% growth in integrated metal production at 2,61,000 tonnes for the December quarter of this fiscal.

Vedanta: The mining giant has reported total aluminium production at 5.79 lakh tonnes for Q3 FY22, up 16% from 4.97 lakh tonnes in Q3 FY21.

Dilip Buildcon: The road construction company has received a letter of acceptance for overburden removal contract mining work worth ₹2,683.02 crore from the South Eastern Coalfield (SECL), a subsidiary of Coal India.

NCC: The company said in an exchange filing that it has received five new orders worth ₹1,898 crore in December. These orders have been received from state government agencies and do not include any internal orders, as per the company.

GAIL India: The state-owned oil marketing company paid the first interim dividend of ₹4 per equity share for FY22.

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

U.S. stocks start 2022 on strong note

On Wall Street, U.S. stocks ended with strong gains on the first trading day of 2022, supported by a rally in electric car maker Tesla and IT giant Apple. Market sentiment was also boosted after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the third dose of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for children aged between 12 and 15 years.

The Dow Jones index added 0.7%, the S&P 500 climbed 0.6%, while the tech-heavy- NASDAQ Composite surged 1.2%.

Shares of Elon Musk-led Tesla rallied 13.5% after the electric car marker’s quarterly deliveries exceeded market expectations. Meanwhile, Apple's shares surged to hit a high of $182.88, making it the first US company to touch a market capitalisation of $3-trillion mark.

Asian shares follow Wall Street higher

Shares in the Asia-Pacific region climbed in early trade on Tuesday, following a strong finish at Wall Street overnight. Markets in Japan, Australia, and Thailand kicked off 2022 on a positive note, while China stocks slipped in opening trade.

Australia’s ASX 200 index was the best performer in the regional market by rising 1.7%. The ASX 200 index was followed by Japan’s Nikkei 225, which surged 1.4%.

In a similar trend, the Straits Times Index in Singapore rose 0.75%, Thailand’s SET Composite climbed 0.3%, and Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite gained 0.65%. Taiwan Weighted Index also traded higher by 0.8%.

Meanwhile, China’s Shanghai Composite index plunged 0.7% in early trade, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong slipped 0.15%. South Korea’s KOSPI traded lower by 0.4%.

India's exports surge 37% to $37.29 bn in Dec

The country's exports in December 2021 climbed 37% on an annual basis to $37.29 billion, supported by sectors like engineering, textiles, and chemicals, even as the trade deficit widened to $21.99 billion. For the first nine months of 2021-22, the exports crossed $300 billion for the first time ever.

Meanwhile, imports in December too surged by 38% to $59.27 billion on the back of rising in oil imports, which soared 65% to $15.9 billion, as per the government data released on Monday.

Addressing a press conference, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said India's merchandise exports will cross $400 billion this fiscal. "With $300 billion in the first nine months of 2021-22 we are on track to achieve our target...This growth is satisfying and we must aspire for more," Goyal said.

Crude oil prices edge lower ahead of OPEC+ meet

Crude oil price edged lower during early Asian trading hours on Tuesday as caution prevailed in the market ahead of OPEC+, a grouping of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies led by Russia, monthly meeting in Vienna. The meeting is expected to focus on raising the February production target as it has done each month since August, when it begins unwinding oil production.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Crude oil futures for February were down 0.12% at $76 a barrel, while the Brent oil futures for March traded 0.04% lower at $78.91 per barrel.

In the overnight trade, global benchmark Brent crude ended 1.5% higher at $78.98 per barrel, and the U.S. WTI crude climbed to $76.08 per barrel.

FIIs, DIIs turn net buyers

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and domestic institutional investors (DIIs) turned net buyers in the Indian equity market on January 3. As per the data available on the NSE, FIIs purchased shares worth ₹902.64 crore, while DIIs net bought shares worth ₹ 803.11 crore.

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