Indian benchmark indices, the BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty, are likely to start the week on a subdued note on Monday, following mixed cues from Asian cues. The muted trends on SGX Nifty also indicated a soft opening for the Indian equities, with SGX Nifty futures trading 15 points, or 0.09%, higher at 17,040 on the Singapore Stock Exchange at 8:05 AM.

On Friday, Indian benchmark indices ended lower, snapping three sessions gaining streak, amid losses in power and banking stocks such as NTPC, Power Grid, SBI, HDFC, Axis Bank. The persistent concerns about the Omicron variant of Covid-19 also weighed on the market sentiment. The BSE Sensex closed 191 points, or 0.33%, lower at 57,124, and the NSE Nifty settled at 17,003, down by 68 points or 0.4%. In line with the benchmark indices, the broader markets also witnessed a surge in selling activities. The S&P BSE Mid-Cap and the S&P BSE Small-Cap indices dropped 1.15% and 0.6%, respectively. On the sectoral front, the BSE Power and PSU indices were the worst performers. The top losers of the BSE Sensex pack as NTPC, which ended 2.69% lower. The other top laggards were Power Grid Corporation of India, Mahindra & Mahindra, Axis Bank, and Kotak Mahindra Bank which fell in the range of 1.5-2.5%.

The Indian equities are expected to see volatility this week due to persistent concerns about the Omicron variant and monthly derivatives expiry. According to market analysts, foreign investors’ investment trends, movement of the Brent crude and Omicron-related development would set the direction for markets.

Individual companies that will be in focus on Monday include RBL Bank, HP Adhesives, Reliance Industries, Vedanta, Lupin, Manappuram Finance, Adani Transmission, and GMR Infra.

RBL Bank: Shares of the private sector lender will be in focus today amid a slew of developments during the weekend. The bank’s CEO Vishwavir Ahuja went on leave and the Reserve Bank of India appointed Yogesh Dayal to the board of the RBL Bank. The board of the bank also appointed Rajeev Ahuja (existing Executive Director of the bank) as the Interim Managing Director & CEO of the bank subject to regulatory and other approvals.

HP Adhesives: The adhesive and sealant company will commence trading on the domestic bourses on Monday. The stock is expected to list at a premium following a strong response to its Rs 125.96 crore IPO. The company sold its share in the range of Rs 262-274 apiece, which opened for subscription between December 15-17.

Reliance Industries: The Mukesh Ambani-led company has received a nod from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to withdraw its plan to demerge its oil-to-chemical (O2C) business into a separate unit. In a separate development, Ratan Tata-backed healthcare start-up Karkinos Healthcare has received an undisclosed amount of investment from Reliance Digital Health.

Vedanta: India Ratings and Research has upgraded the company's outlook to positive from stable and also affirmed its long-term issuer rating at 'AA-'.

Lupin: The drugmaker has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) to market Sevelamer Carbonate for oral suspension. The drug is used for controlling serum phosphorus with chronic kidney disease (CKD) on dialysis.

Manappuram Finance: The gold loan company has received its board approval for raising up to Rs 500 crore via NCDs.

Adani Transmission: The electric power transmission company has received the Letter of Intent (LoI) for the acquisition of a renewable energy evacuation system under Khavda-Bhuj Transmission Ltd.

GMR Infrastructure: The company has inked a shareholder pact with Indonesia's Angkasa Pura II for the development of Medan Airport on December 23. GMR Airports, a part of GMR Group, has signed a pact through its subsidiary, GMR Netherlands BV, for the development and operation of Kualanamu International Airport (Project) in Medan, Indonesia.

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

Asian shares trade on a mixed note

Shares in the Asia-Pacific region traded mixed in opening trade on Monday in absence of any cues from Wall Street as markets in the U.S. remained closed on Friday for the Christmas holidays. The persistent concerns about the potential impact of the Omicron coronavirus variant on the global economy also weighed on market sentiment. As per the latest report, the Omicron variant’s daily cases in the U.S. have breached those in the delta wave, while China reported the highest number of local cases since January.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was down 0.25% in early trade, while South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.15%.

Meanwhile, China’s Shanghai Composite advanced 0.3% after the country’s central bank vowed to support the real economy by possibly loosening its monetary policy. The Straits Times Index in Singapore rose 0.1%, and the Taiwan Weighted Index gained 0.6%. The Australian benchmark index, ASX 200, climbed 0.4% and Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite rose 0.12%.

U.S. stocks ended higher on Thursday

Wall Street remained closed on Friday on the back of the Christmas holiday. On Thursday, the U.S. benchmark indices closed higher for the third day as strong macro data lifted the mood ahead of the Christmas holidays. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.6%, the S&P 500 also rose 0.6%. The tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite ended 0.9% higher in overnight trade on Thursday.

Oil fall on Omicron woes

Crude oil prices retreated on Monday amid the cancelation of thousands of flights in the United States over the Christmas holidays in wake of rising Omicron infections. The U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Crude oil futures for February were down 0.65% at $73.31 a barrel, while Brent oil futures for March traded 0.36% higher at $76.06 during early Asian trading hours.

The crude futures did not trade on Friday as markets in the U.S. were closed for the Christmas holiday.

Gold futures edge lower

Gold futures traded lower during the Asian session as a stronger U.S. dollar limited demand for the yellow metal. Gold futures for February contracts were trading at $1,810 per ounce, down 0.05%.

FIIs and DIIs turn net seller

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and domestic institutional investors (DIIs) emerged as net sellers in the Indian equity market on December 24. As per data available on the NSE, FIIs net sold shares worth Rs 715 crore, while offloaded shares worth Rs 43.24 crore.

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