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Mumbai: Indian stock markets are likely to consolidate on Wednesday, while trends in SGX Nifty suggests a flat to positive opening for domestic benchmark indices. On Tuesday, the BSE Sensex ended at 48,944.14, up 557.63 points or 1.15%. The Nifty closed at 14,653.05, up 168.05 points or 1.16%.

Asian shares were mixed on Wednesday as already high valuations discouraged investors from buying equities ahead of a closely-watched U.S. Federal Reserve meeting.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan declined 0.23%. Australian stocks rose 0.55%, but shares in China slipped 0.44%. Stocks in Tokyo edged 0.16% higher.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is expected to reaffirm that easy monetary policy will remain in place for a prolonged period and dismiss any suggestions of tapering bond purchases.

US President Joe Biden will also address a joint session of Congress, where he may make additional comments about infrastructure and stimulus spending.

Back home, major companies that will announce March quarter results today are Bajaj Finserv, Biocon, Bombay Dyeing and Mastek.

Axis Bank will be in focus as the lender on Tuesday reported its highest-ever quarterly standalone net profit of 2,677 crore in the March quarter on the back of lower provisioning. The private lender had reported a loss of 1,387.8 crore in the year ago quarter.

Info Edge India Ltd., on Tuesday said that it will be selling its stake worth 750 crore in Zomato's upcoming public offering.

An improving US economy, rising coronavirus vaccination rates, and expectations for big fiscal spending are causing more investors to question when the Fed will start slowing its bond purchases and how much inflation policymakers will tolerate.

Breakeven rates on 10-year Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, a measure of expected annual inflation for the coming decade, rose to 2.41%, the highest since 2013.

Yields on benchmark 10-year Treasuries stood at 1.6217%, close to a one-week high.

The dollar edged up slightly against the yen and the British pound, but trading is expected to be subdued until Powell speaks after the Fed meeting.

The Australian dollar was knocked lower after disappointing data on consumer prices.

In commodities, Brent crude futures fell 0.09% to $66.36 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude lost 0.05% to $62.91 per barrel due to worries about energy demand.

Benchmark copper continued its assent toward a record above $10,000 a tonne. The metal is used so widely in manufacturing and heavy industry across the globe that it is considered a barometer of economic health.

However, gold, which is often seen as a hedge against inflation, fell 0.49% to $1,768.00 in cautious trade ahead of the Fed meeting.

(Reuters contributed to the story)

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