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MUMBAI: Indian stock markets will likely trade firm on Monday, with the SGX Nifty futures indicating a positive start for domestic benchmark indices. On Friday, the BSE Sensex closed at 58,786.67, down 20.46 points, or 0.03%, and the Nifty was at 17,511.30, down 5.55 points.

Investors will react to IIP data released on Friday. Industrial growth printed at a stable yet tepid 3.2% in October, with the festive season boost being negated by the supply side issues afflicting the auto sector, as well as a higher base. The disaggregated data does not provide convincing signals of the recovery becoming durable and broad-basing further, with capital goods and consumer durables reporting a year-on-year contraction in October, said economists.

ONGC is seeking a minimum price of $3.5-$4 for the natural gas it plans to produce from coal seams in Jharkhand and a field in Tripura. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has issued separate tenders seeking buyers of 0.02 million standard cubic meters per day of coal-bed methane (CBM) it plans to produce from the North Karanpura CBM block in Jharkhand and 0.1 mmscmd from Khubal field in Tripura.

Vedanta has approved an interim dividend of 13.50 a share, totaling 5,019 crore, according to an exchange filing Saturday. The move comes after its cash-rich unit Hindustan Zinc Ltd. announced a payout of $1 billion earlier this week. The record date for the purpose of payment of dividend is December 18, 2021.

In primary markets, Tega Industries will make stock markets debut today.

Asian stocks crept higher on Monday as investors prepared to tiptoe through a minefield of 17 central bank meetings this week and the likely early end to U.S. policy stimulus.

Omicron remained a concern with British Prime Minster Boris Johnson warning of a "tidal wave" of new cases of the coronavirus variant, though markets are still counting on vaccines to limit the economic fallout.

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to signal a faster tapering of asset buying this week, and thus an earlier start to rate hikes. It will also update the dot plots for rates over the next couple of years.

The market is already well ahead, with a rise to 0.25% fully priced in by May and rates of 0.75% by year end.

The European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan are also meeting this week, and all are headed toward normalising policy at their own, often glacial, pace.

The market's measured reaction to Friday's U.S. inflation report suggests much is already priced in on policy, though with so many meetings there is the risk of a surprise or two.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan started with a 0.2% gain, after bouncing 1.7% last week.

Japan's Nikkei rose 1.0%, as a survey of large manufacturers found sentiment was the best since late 2018. read more

Wall Street looked to extend its grains with Nasdaq futures up 0.3% and S&P 500 futures 0.2%.

The Treasury market has taken the risk of earlier Fed hikes with equanimity, perhaps in the belief that it will mean lower inflation over the long run and a lower peak for the cash rate.

Yields on 10-year notes did rise 12 basis points last week, but at 1.49% remain well below the high for the year at 1.776%.

The prospect of a more aggressive Fed has been supportive of the U.S. dollar, though it has flattened out in recent days.

On Monday, the dollar index was steady at 96.069 , having held between 95.848 and 96.594 for the past week or so.

The dollar was a shade firmer on the yen at 113.52 but faced resistance at 113.95, while the euro was steady at $1.1313 having spent the last two weeks in a tight $1.1226/$1.1382 range.

In commodity markets, gold was busy going nowhere at $1,783 an ounce after gaining only fleeting support from the lofty U.S. inflation reading.

Oil prices extended their bounce, having broken a six-week losing streak with gains of around 8% last week.

Brent firmed 84 cents early Monday to $75.99 a barrel, while U.S. crude added 95 cents to $72.62.

(Reuters contributed to the story)

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