SGX Nifty Futures Signal Weak Start

( – The Indian markets are set to open lower on Wednesday following two days of successive gains. However, the downside could be limited as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised up its India’s growth forecast for the current fiscal to 4.6 percent from 4.25 percent estimated earlier, citing a favorable monsoon, higher export growth and structural policies supporting investment. The IMF also said it is slightly more optimistic about the global and U.S. economies this year than it was three months ago.

The benchmark indexes Sensex and the Nifty rose about 0.2 percent each on Tuesday, with rate-sensitive auto and banking stocks pacing the gains, amid expectations the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will keep interest rates steady in its upcoming monetary policy meeting next week.

An expert panel, led by RBI deputy governor Urjit Patel, on Tuesday recommended that a new combined CPI be adopted for anchoring the monetary policy. Traditionally, the RBI has been using wholesale price index inflation as a yardstick.

In corporate news, the Foreign Investment Promotion Board will consider a proposal by HDFC Bank to increase the overseas shareholding limit on February 3, the Economic Times reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Auto major Tata Motors has launched a new variant of its premium hatchback ‘Vista’, which comes with enhanced features to deliver a superior driving experience.

FMCG player Colgate Palmolive beat analyst expectations by reporting a 1.6 percent rise in quarterly net profit despite increased competition in the oral care segment.

Low-cost carrier SpiceJet announced a 50 percent discount on base fares for three days, provided tickets are booked 30 days in advance for travel up to April 15.

Commercial vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland posted a net loss of Rs.167.21 crore for the December quarter compared to a net profit of Rs.74.14 crore in the year-ago period.

Infrastructure firm IVRCL has approached the Corporate Debt Restructuring (CDR) cell seeking additional time to rejig its consolidated debt of over Rs. 5,000 crore.

<b>Asian Markets </b>

Asian stocks are trading mixed following an uninspiring lead from Wall Street overnight. Australia’sS&P/ASX 200 is losing 0.6 percent after data showed consumer prices jumped by a surprise 0.8 percent last quarter, diminishing prospects of a rate cut from the central bank. Japan’s Nikkei index is edging down 0.1 percent ahead of the conclusion of the Bank of Japan’s two-day policy meeting later in the day.

Malaysia’s KLSE Composite is declining 0.3 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times is marginally lower, while the markets elsewhere are posting modest gains. China’s Shanghai Composite is rallying a percent on easing fears over a credit squeeze.

<b>U.S. And European Markets </b>

U.S. stocks ended mixed overnight, failing to sustain an initial upward move, as lackluster earnings reports from companies such as Travelers, Verizon and Johnson & Johnson weighed on the Dow Jones industrial average. The Dow slid 0.3 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.7 percent and the S&P 500 added 0.3 percent.

European stocks also turned in a mixed performance on Tuesday as disappointing German economic confidence data as well as speculation of further Fed tapering offset positive sentiment generating from an injection of cash into the banking system by China’s central bank and a global growth upgrade from the International Monetary Fund. While the German DAX rose 0.2 percent, France’s CAC 40 and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 ended little changed.

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