Indian benchmark indices, the BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty, are likely to open higher on Friday, following positive cues from Asian peers. The bullish trends on SGX Nifty also signalled a gap-up opening for the Indian equities, with SGX Nifty futures trading 14.5 points, or 0.09%, higher at 17,834 on the Singapore Stock Exchange at 7:40 AM.

On Thursday, the Indian benchmark closed lower, snapping four sessions gaining streak, as looming fear about U.S. interest rates hike and rising concerns about the fast spread of the Omicron variant dented market sentiments. The weekly F&O expiry on Thursday also injected volatility in the market. The BSE Sensex dropped 621 points, or 1.03%, to end lower at 59,601, while the NSE Nifty settled at 17,745, down 179 points, or 1%. In comparison, the S&P BSE Midcap index closed 0.05% lower, while the S&P BSE Smallcap index settled with 0.01% gain. On the sectoral front, all major indices, barring auto, consumer durables, and oil & gas, ended in negative terrain, while IT and realty declined the most. The top losers of the BSE Sensex pack was IT services and consulting company Tech Mahindra, which dropped 2.56%. The other top laggards include UltraTech Cement, Reliance Industries, HCL Technologies and HDFC, which dropped in the range of 1.9% to 2.5%.

Shares to watch today

Individual companies that will be in focus on Friday include Reliance Industries, Titan Company, Adani Enterprises, NTPC, HCL Technologies, Colgate-Palmolive, Hinduja Global Solutions, Wockhardt, Bharti Airtel, Alembic Pharmaceuticals, and others.

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL): Mukesh Ambani-led oil-to-telecom conglomerate has successfully raised $4 billion in the country’s largest-ever foreign currency bond issuance. In a separate development, Reliance Retail Ventures (Reliance Retail) acquired a 25.8% stake in Dunzo for $200 million.

Titan Company: The Tata group company has reported robust demand across its consumer businesses and registered 36% growth over the festive quarter last year. The company in an exchange filing said it has witnessed “buoyancy" in jewellery demand in the months of October and November, owing to the festive season.

Adani Enterprises, NTPC: The Gautam Adani-led energy conglomerate has secured a contract to supply imported coal to state-run power utility company NTPC.

Colgate-Palmolive: The oral care company will be in focus after the distributors association ended the boycott of its certain products in Maharashtra over price disparity. The company has reportedly addressed the concerns related to price disparity between the traditional distributors and organized business-to-business channels such as Walmart Best Price, Metro Cash and Carry.

HCL Technologies: The IT major has completed the acquisition of 51% stake in German IT Consulting Company, Gesellschaft für Banksysteme GmbH (GBS).

Hinduja Global Solutions: The board of directors of the company has approved an interim dividend of ₹150 per share for the current financial year FY22. The board approved a 1-for-1 bonus share issue.

GM Breweries, SPS International: These two companies are slated to release their December quarter results today. Over the weekend, DMart, Earum Pharma, Fraser and Company, Suraj Industries, Yuranus Infra and Avi Polymers will be announcing the numbers.

Wockhardt: The pharma company has got approval from its board to raise up to ₹1,000 crore through a rights issue.

Bharti Airtel: The telecom major said in an exchange filing that its African arm has completed the first part of its $176 million telecom tower sale deal in Tanzania.

Alembic Pharmaceuticals: The drug maker has received final nod from the US health regulator for its generic Entacapone tablets used in Parkinson's disease.

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

Wall Street ends lower in volatile trade

In the overnight trade, all the three major U.S. indices ended marginally lower in a choppy trading session as fear about the fast pullback of economic stimulus by the Federal Reserve continues to weigh on investor sentiment. The Fed minutes released on Wednesday signalled that U.S. rates could rise sooner than expected.

Extending fall for the second session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.47%, the S&P 500 shed 0.10%, and the NASDAQ Composite dropped 0.13%.

The market sentiment was also dented by weekly jobless claim data which showed that more Americans filed claims for unemployment benefits last week. Adding to it, data released by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showed that non-manufacturing activity dropped in the month of December.

Asian markets regain ground

Shares in the Asia-Pacific region recouped some of yesterday's big losses, triggered by the Fed’s meeting minutes which indicated that the central bank may soon lift U.S. interest rates and also reduce its overall asset holdings to counter rising inflation.

In mainland China, the Shanghai composite rose 0.3%, while the Shenzhen component slipped 0.16%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng also surged 0.6%, while South Korea’s KOSPI climbed 0.8%. Australia’s ASX 200 index also traded higher by 1.2%.

In Japan, Nikkei 225 extended its loss for the second day by falling 0.3%, while the Topix index dipped 0.7%.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s KOSPI slipped 0.3%, and Australia’s ASX 200 tumbled 1.3%.

Oil prices rise amid unrest in Kazakhstan

Global benchmark Brent crude rallied in early trade on Friday on political unrest in OPEC+ oil producer Kazakhstan and supply disruption in Libya. OPEC+ is a grouping of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies led by Russia which decides the petroleum policies.

During the early Asian trading hours, the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 0.86% at $80.15 a barrel, while the Brent oil futures surged 0.76% to $82.87 per barrel.

In the overnight trade on Thursday, oil prices rose sharply, with the U.S. WTI crude rising 2.1% to $79.50 per barrel and Brent climbed 1.5% to $81.99 a barrel.

FIIs turn net seller, DIIs remain net buyers for fourth day

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) turned into net sellers in the Indian equity market on January 6, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) emerged as net buyers for the fourth consecutive day. As per the data available on the NSE, FIIs net sold shares worth ₹1,927 crore, while DIIs net bought shares worth ₹ 801 crore.

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