Indian benchmark indices, the BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty, are likely to continue the gaining momentum on Thursday, following positive leads from global peers. The trends on SGX Nifty also indicated a gap-up opening for the Indian equities, with SGX Nifty futures trading 89 points, or 0.52%, higher at 17,067.50 on the Singapore Stock Exchange at 7:50 AM.

On Wednesday, Indian benchmark indices ended higher for the second straight session, led by gains in index heavyweights such as Reliance Industries, Sun Pharma, SBI, Bharti Airtel, Bajaj Finance, Tata Steel, and L&T. The BSE Sensex closed 611.55 points or 1.09%, higher at 56,930, and the NSE Nifty settled at 16,955, up by 184.6 points or 1.1%. On the sectoral front, all the indices closed in positive terrain, while realty and consumer good stocks gained the most. The top gainer on the BSE Sensex pack was Bajaj Finance, which surged 2.94%. The other notable gainers were Bharti Airtel, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Reliance Industries, State Bank of India, which rose over 2% each. On the losing side, Power Grid Corporation topped the chart by falling 2.47%.

Individual stocks that will be in focus on Thursday include Medplus Health Services, L&T, Zee Entertainment, Tata Motors, Vedanta, Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and others.

Medplus Health Services: The share of pharmacy retailer will commence trading on the domestic bourses today. The company has raised ₹1,398.30 crore in its initial public offering, which opened for subscription between December 13-15. The price band for the offer was ₹780-796. The shares were trading at a premium in the grey market, indicating a strong listing on the stock exchanges.

Larsen & Toubro: The company said its construction arm has secured a major order for building one of the largest residential townships in Bengaluru from a reputed developer. The company did not share the transaction value of the deal.

Zee Entertainment: The share price of the Indian media firm will remain in focus amid the proposed merger between Zee Entertainment and Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI). As per the latest report, the merger will take at least 8 months to close.

Tata Motors: Auto major Tata Motors has incorporated a wholly owned subsidiary, Tata Passenger Electric Mobility. The new company will manufacture electric motor vehicles.

Vedanta: The Vedanta Resources subsidiary will raise ₹1,000 crore by offering "rated, secured, redeemable, non‐cumulative, non‐convertible debentures" in one or more tranches.

Axis Bank: The private lender has inked a pact with the Maharashtra Forest Department to offer a special salary account 'Axis Republic' to their employees.

Kotak Mahindra Bank: The private lender announced that its arm, Kotak Mahindra Prime, has acquired Ford Motor Company's captive lending platform for an undisclosed amount.

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

Wall Street ends higher as Omicron fears fizzle

In the overnight trade, the U.S. stocks extended gain for the second consecutive day session as investors cheered a South African government report which said Omicron was weaker than the Delta variant.

The market sentiment was also boosted by improving consumer confidence and gross domestic product growth. Adding optimism to the market, the White House said on Wednesday that it would resume talks on the social spending and climate change bill with the Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who rejected President Joe Biden’s social and climate policy plan earlier this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.74%, the S&P 500 added 1.02%, and the NASDAQ Composite ended 1.18% higher on Wednesday.

Asian shares on positive global cues

Shares in the Asia-Pacific region continued gaining streak on Thursday, following firm cues from Wall Street which ended higher overnight. The market cheered positive news about the impact of the omicron variant of COVID-19 and strong U.S. economic data.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 traded higher by 0.3%, South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.25%, and the Straits Times Index in Singapore rose 0.4%.

In a similar trend, the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong surged 0.6%, while the Taiwan Weighted Index rallied 0.7%. While Thailand’s Set Composite index rose 0.3%, Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite climbed 0.4%. Australian benchmark index, ASX 200, also gained 0.2%.

Bucking the trend, China’s Shanghai Composite traded lower with marginal losses.

Oil prices extend rally

Crude oil prices extended rally for the third straight session on Thursday amid rising optimism about the global economic growth. The higher-than-expected drop in U.S. inventories further eased worries about the impact of the Omicron coronavirus variant on the global economic recovery.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Crude oil futures for February were up 0.38% at $73.14 a barrel, while Brent oil futures were at $75.62, up 0.03% during early Asian trading hours.

In the overnight trade, Brent crude rose 0.3%, and WTI crude climbed 0.38% amid easing concerns that the spread of Omicron would dampen fuel demand.

Gold prices edge higher

Gold prices traded marginally higher during Asian session as a weaker dollar boosted demand for yellow metal. Spot gold was up 0.12% at $1,805 per ounce in futures trade.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube & Instagram to never miss an update from Fortune India. To buy a copy, visit Amazon.