Indian benchmark indices, the BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty, are likely to open lower on Wednesday, following weak cues from global peers. The negative trends on SGX Nifty also indicated a gap-down opening for the Indian equities, with SGX Nifty futures trading 61 points, or 0.35%, lower at 17,254 on the Singapore Stock Exchange at 7:45 AM.

On Tuesday, Indian benchmark indices ended higher for the second straight session, with most of the sectoral indices flashing in green. The equity market witnessed a surge in buying activities across the board, led by the IT, auto, capital goods, and banking stocks. The BSE Sensex ended 477 points, or 0.83%, higher at 57,897, and the NSE Nifty added 147 points, or 0.86%, to close at 17,233. The market witnessed broad-based buying with 28 out of the top 30 BSE stocks ending in positive terrain. Asian Paints, one of the country’s leading paint companies, emerged as the top gainer by rising 2.85%. Some of the other notable gainers on the BSE Sensex pack were Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Mahindra & Mahindra, UltraTech Cement, and Titan Company, which rose over 2% each.

Individual companies that will be in focus on Wednesday include Raymond, Sun Pharma, ITC, AU Small Finance Bank, Indiabulls Housing Finance, Vodafone Idea, RBL Bank as well as pharma and textile stocks.

Raymond: The textile and apparel firm has incorporated a step-down subsidiary Ten X Realty (TXRL) to carry on real estate business. TXRL will focus on the development of land and properties at Thane, Maharashtra.

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries: The drug major plans to establish a new manufacturing plant in Andhra Pradesh.

ITC: Indian conglomerate ITC has commissioned its first off-site solar plant in Tamil Nadu with an investment of 76 crore. The project is part of the company’s vision to meet 100% of the entire grid electricity requirements from renewable sources by 2030. In a separate development, the company has signed a pact with South Korean Lotte Group-owned ice cream brand Havmor.

Pharma stocks: Shares of pharma companies will be in focus as DCGI approved the anti-COVID-19 pill Molnupiravir for emergency use in the country. As many as thirteen Indian firms can now manufacture and market Molnupiravir drug developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

AU Small Finance Bank: The private lender has appointed former RBI Deputy Governor HR Khan as an independent director on its board.

Textiles: The textile-related stocks will be in focus today after the Centre on Tuesday released the operational guidelines for the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for textiles.

Indiabulls Housing Finance, Vodafone Idea, and RBL Bank: These three stocks will be under the F&O ban on the NSE today. Shares under the F&O segment enter in the ban period after they cross 95% of the market-wide position limit.

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

Wall Street ends mixed after record-setting rally

Snapping four sessions gaining streak, the major U.S. indices closed mixed in record-setting session on Tuesday, dragged down by technology and healthcare stocks. The stocks opened higher amid optimism about economic growth, with the S&P 500 hitting fresh record high as investors also cheered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) new rule which lowered the recommended isolation time for asymptomatic coronavirus patients to five days from the previous guidance of 10 days. Reversing early gains, the S&P 500 ended 0.1% lower, and the NASDAQ Composite dropped 0.6%. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.3% higher.

Asian markets fall as Omicron worries weigh

Shares in the Asia-Pacific region traded mostly lower, mirroring weakness in Wall Street which finished mixed overnight. The market sentiment was dented by surging Covid-19 cases around the world and uncertainty over the economic impact of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was the worst performer in the regional market by falling nearly 1%. Nikkei was followed by South Korea’s Kospi, which dropped 0.9%. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong fell 0.8% and the China’s Shanghai Composite dipped 0.5%. Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite also traded lower with marginal losses.

Meanwhile, Australia’s ASX 200 index resumed trade after Christmas holidays with 1% gain, while the Straits Times Index in Singapore rose 0.3%. Thailand’s SET Composite also climbed 0.3%, and Taiwan Weighted Index traded higher with marginal gains.

Crude oil prices steady despite Omicron concerns

Crude oil price was steady on Wednesday amid hopes that the Omicron variant will have a limited impact on global fuel demand in 2022. The U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Crude oil futures for February were down 0.04% at $75.94 a barrel during early Asian trading hours. The Brent oil futures for March traded 0.04% lower at $78.75 per barrel.

In the overnight trade, global benchmark Brent crude ended 0.73% higher at $79.17 per barrel, and the U.S. WTI crude climbed 0.75% to $76.14 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 December 28. As per the data available on the NSE, FIIs purchased shares worth Rs 207.31 crore, while DIIs net bought shares worth Rs 567.47 crore.

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