10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Indian shares are set to open little changed on Wednesday amid cautious trades in global markets and rising crude oil prices. Asian markets remained flat on hopes the US Federal Reserve will stick to a dovish stance and unveil a plan to stop cutting bond holdings later this year. At 07:15 AM, the SGX Nifty, an early indicator of the Nifty 50’s trend in India, was down 0.06 percent at 11,568.50, indicating a tepid start for the Sensex and the Nifty.

1. Asia: MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ticked down 0.1 percent from a six-month high touched the previous day. Japan’s Nikkei was also down 0.1 percent.

2. US: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 26.72 points, or 0.1 percent, to 25,887.38, the S&P 500 lost 0.37 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,832.57 and the Nasdaq Composite added 9.47 points, or 0.12 percent, to 7,723.95.

3. Markets Close On Tuesday: Benchmark indices ended higher for the seventh straight session, with Nifty50 reclaiming 11,500 levels on the back of sustained buying in midcaps, smallcaps, banking stocks and blue-chip stocks. The S&P BSE Sensex ended at 38,363, up 268 points, while the broader NSE Nifty50 settled at 11,532, up 70 points.

4. Crude Oil: Oil prices held close to four-month highs on expectations that OPEC would continue production cuts through the end of the year and after data from the API showed a surprise draw-down on crude inventories. US WTI futures stood flat at $59.02 per barrel after touching its highest since November at $59.57 on Tuesday.

5. Rupee: The rupee closed at 68.97, down by 44 paise against the dollar on Tuesday.

6. Dollar: The dollar’s index against a basket of six major currencies hit 2 1/2-week low of 96.288 on Tuesday and last stood at 96.390. The dollar fetched 111.41 yen, slipping from Friday’s nine-day high of 111.90.

7. FIIs & DIIs: Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) bought shares worth Rs 2,132 crore on a net basis, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) sold shares worth Rs 1,254 crore on March 19.

8. GST On Real Estate: The all-powerful GST Council on Tuesday approved a transition plan for the implementation of new tax structure for housing units, revenue secretary AB Pandey said. The reasonable time for transition will be given to developers in consultation with states, said A B Pandey. He also added that the GST rates for new projects will be mandatory from April 1.

9. Economists on Indian Economic Growth Slowdown: Economists raised concerns over a sharp slowdown in the Indian economy and pitched for a monetary policy boost to support growth at a meeting with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) chief on Tuesday, according to three participants. RBI governor Shaktikanta Das met more than a dozen economists to get their views on the economy ahead of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decision due on April 4. Most economists expect the six-member MPC to cut the repo rate by 25 basis points for the second time in a row next month to 6.00 percent, a level last seen in August 2017.

10. US-China Trade Talks: US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plan to travel to China next week for another round of trade talks with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, a Trump administration official said on Tuesday. The resumption in face-to-face talks, the first since President Donald Trump delayed a March 1 deadline to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, marks an acceleration of the negotiations aimed at ending an eight-month trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

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