Pre-Market: Markets set to extend gains on outlook upgrade

The markets are likely to build on the gains in the previous session, thanks to Moody’s action in upgrading India’s outlook to positive from stable for the year. The rating remains unchanged at Baa3. The Modi government’s push towards a hassle-free business environment in the country impressed Moody’s to shift its outlook on Asia’s No. 3 economy from stable to positive. India’s Baa3 rating was affirmed and the outlook was revised from stable, Moody’s said in a statement Thursday in Singapore.

The market had maintained its northward journey for the fourth straight session on Wednesday, with the Nifty scaling the 8,700 mark, led by gains in index heavyweight Reliance Industries and Coal India, among others.

Stocks to Watch

Srei Equipment Finance: Is set to raise up to Rs 500 crore through public issue of secured, redeemable non-convertible debentures (NCDs). The base issue size is worth Rs 250 crore with an option to retain over-subscription of up to Rs 500 crore.

A day after large lenders like State Bank of India (SBI), ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank pared their base rate — the benchmark rate to which all rates are linked  — Axis Bank, the third largest private sector lender, has cut base rate by 20 basis points (bps), from 10.15 per cent to 9.95 per cent with effect from April 13. As a result, all loan rates will reduce by 20 bps.

At 8.30am, the SGX Nifty is at 8,805, up 38 points.

Global Markets

Among global markets, Wall Street ended higher as investors shook off a plunge in oil prices and regarded the Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes as largely dovish. The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) released the minutes of its March meeting, revealing that central bank policy makers were divided over the timing of an interest rate hike. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended higher by up 0.2 percent, while the S&P 500 settled 0.3 percent higher.

In Europe, equities closed mostly lower, despite a jump in energy stocks after Royal Dutch Shell launched a bid for UK-listed BG Group.

Asian stocks are having a steady session of trade this morning following Wednesday’s surge. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan is virtually unchanged after surging 1.8% the previous day to a seven-month high.

Japan’s Nikkei has nudged up 0.2% after hitting a 15-year high the previous day.

Hong Kong and Tokyo have scaled fresh multi-year highs. The Hang Seng index has climbed 3.8% to its highest level since May 2008, boosted by strong buying from Chinese investors who used up the entire 10.5 billion yuan ($ 1.69 billion) daily investment quota in a cross-border program for the first time.

South Korea’s Kospi index is trading at a 5-month high after the Bank of Korea (BOK) retained the interest rates steady at 1.75% as expected.

The Taiwan and Kospi are muted in early trades.

Crude oil has bounced back marginally after plunging overnight by nearly 7% on a huge rise in US stocks and news of record Saudi oil production. The US crude is up 1.1% at $ 50.97 a barrel.