Markets are likely to open higher, amid firm Asian cues, with rate sensitive shares in focus led by banks after some of them announced reduction in lending rates.

At 8:30AM, the early indicator SGX Nifty was up 19 points at 8,746.

Asian markets extended gains with Japanese shares inching towards fresh 15-year highs on hopes of additional stimulus measures from major economies in the region such as China and Japan. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei was up 0.4% while Shanghai Composite came off its early highs and was trading flat. However, Hong Kong markets resumed trading after the Easter holidays and the benchmark Hang Seng jumped 2% while Straits Times was trading flat with negative bias.

Major US stock indices ended flat on Tuesday erasing intra-day gains after the appreciation of the dollar raised concerns on the impact of earnings of US companies operating worldwide. Logistics majors were in focus after plans by FedEx to acquire Dutch-based firm TNT Express. Meanwhile, crude oil prices eased on the back of rising inventory levels. The Dow Jones ended down 5 points at 17,875.42, the broader S&P 500 ended down 4 points at 2,076.33 and the tech-laden Nasdaq slipped 7 points to close at 4,910.23.

Stocks in focus

State Bank of India will be in focus after it announced a reduction in its lending rate by 15 basis points to 9.85% effective from 10th April. Private banking major HDFC Bank also lowered its lending rate by 0.15% to 9.85% effective from April 13.

Auto companies could see some action on hopes that reduction of interest rates by banks on auto loans could revive demand for vehicles.

Coal India may gain after the coal ministry allowed the company to revert to the old system, removing the cap on e-auction volumes with effect from April 2015.

Real estate companies will be in focus after the Union government on Tuesday cleared amendments to the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2013, paving the way for legislation on regulators for the sector.

Rural Electrification Corporation will see some action after the government on Tuesday has set a floor price of Rs 315 per share for the offer for sale to be conducted on Wednesday. The price is around 2% lower than the closing price of Rs 321.65 on Tuesday.

The CCEA has approved foreign investment in two pharma companies. Aurobindo Pharma has received nod for qualified institutional buyers to infuse fresh equity of up to 7%, amounting to Rs 2,165 crore into the company,

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has received approval for hiking the foreign investment limit by FIIs from 35.07 per cent to 49 per cent.

GMR Infrastructure may see some action after its Rs 1,400 crore rights issue closes today.