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Cautious opening for Indian stocks seen: Monday Market Preview

The Chinese central bank on Sunday hiked reserve requirements for banks, the fourth this year, in a bid to control spending

The domestic stock market is likely to open on a cautious note on news that the Chinese central bank on Sunday once again raised reserve rates for lenders. The move resulted in markets across Asia were mostly higher in early trade on Monday while Wall Street edged higher on Friday tracking positive economic data. The SGX Nifty fluctuated between green and red and was last seen up 10 points at 5,835 from its previous close of 5,825.

On the earnings front, HDFC Bank, IFCI, IndusInd Bank and CMC are among the companies that are expected to announce their quarterly numbers today.

The market ended marginally lower in the holiday-shortened week, mostly on domestic cues. Weak industrial output numbers for February, a rise in headline inflation for March and lower-than-expected fourth-quarter results and guidance by Infosys were the main factors that were responsible for the decline. The Sensex lost 65 points (0.33%) to end the week at 19,387 and the Nifty shed 17 points (0.30%) to settle at 5,825.

Corporate earnings are likely to influence the direction of the market in the week ahead. While the IT sector will be subdued, the manufacturing and services sectors are expected to show good Q4 growth.

US markets settled higher on Friday as positive economic news overshadowed disappointing earnings from Google and Bank of America which missed their earnings estimates. US factories increased production for the ninth straight month. Besides, the Labor Department said consumer prices rose just 0.1% last month excluding food and gas prices against analysts’ expectations of a 0.2% rise.

Also, a survey by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan said that consumers' confidence was growing more than predicted. The preliminary April reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 69.6, up from 67.5 in March. The sentiment reading is still below February's level, with March sentiment the lowest in more than a year.

The Dow rose 56.68 points (0.46%) to close at 12,341.83. The S&P 500 gained 5.16 points (0.39%) to 1,319.68 and the Nasdaq added 4.43 points (0.16%) to 2,764.65.

Markets in Asia were mostly higher despite the Chinese central bank on Sunday hiking reserve rates for big banks. The Chinese markets reversed early losses and were in positive terrain. However, the Japanese benchmark was trading lower following the Chinese rate hike.

Reserve rates in China will rise a half point from 21st April, pushing the requirement to a record 20.5% for the biggest lenders. The move comes less than two weeks after an interest-rate increase.

The Shanghai Composite was 0.02% higher, the Hang Seng rose 0.36%, the Jakarta Composite gained 0.06%, the KLSE Composite surged 0.61%, the Straits Times climbed 0.34%, the Seoul Composite added 0.19% and the Taiwan Weighted rose 0.39%. On the other hand, the Nikkei 225 was 0.19% lower in early trade.

Back home, with inflation showing no signs of moderation, economists expect the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to hike key policy rates by at least 25 basis points in its annual monetary policy to be unveiled on 3rd May.

The headline inflation (WPI) stood at 8.98% for March, much above the RBI’s projection of 8%, fuelling speculation that the central bank may go in for another hike in the repo (lending) and reverse repo (borrowing) rates.

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