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MUMBAI: Markets are likely to consolidate further on Thursday while trends in SGX Nifty suggest a weak opening of Indian benchmark indices. On Wednesday, the BSE Sensex closed at 53,054.76, up 193.58 points or 0.37%. The Nifty ended at 15,879.65, up 61.40 points or 0.39%.

Most Asian stocks slipped Thursday following gains for US shares and Treasuries, as Federal Reserve minutes showed policy makers awaiting more evidence of a robust economic recovery to set a timeline for trimming bond purchases.

Equities dipped in Japan, where another virus state of emergency for Tokyo looks imminent. Hong Kong and China opened lower. US futures fluctuated after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 both closed at all-time highs. Ten-year US Treasury yields steadied around 1.30% after falling for seven trading days as inflation expectations continued to ease.

The US Federal Reserve minutes indicated officials weren’t ready to communicate a schedule for scaling back their bond-buying programme, due to high uncertainty over the course of the recovery. They did, however, want to establish a plan in case a move is needed sooner.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inducted 36 new faces into his council of ministers, promoted seven junior ministers to independent or cabinet roles, and dropped 12 ministers, including the ministers of health, education, information technology, law, environment and broadcasting, in his biggest reshuffle in the past seven years.

Tata Consultancy Services will kickstart the earnings season by announcing its March quarter results today. Despite a high base effect in second half of FY21, a strong demand environment and deal wins are expected to show strength across largecap and midcap IT companies. Motilal Oswal Financial Services expect a dip in margins for most IT Services companies led by a second wage hike and an increase in attrition/hiring.

State-run Punjab National Bank has asked the board of its PNB Housing Finance Ltd unit to reconsider the contentious 4,000 crore stake sale to Carlyle Group and others, and carve out an alternative capital-raising plan compliant with regulatory rules. PNB Housing told exchanges on Wednesday that its board met on 5 and 6 July after receiving the letter from its parent on 4 July. The housing finance company said it will decide on the issue after the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) pronounces its judgement.

Housing finance major HDFC Ltd on Wednesday said it has divested 2.46% of its stake in Hindustan Oil Exploration Company (HOECL) for 37 crore.HDFC held 1,48,26,303 equity shares of HOECL.

The dollar held gains against a basket of major currencies. Oil slid as investors await further signals from the Opec+ alliance on production plans after a breakdown in talks.

Central bank stimulus plans remain critical to the market outlook, especially the fate of the Fed’s $120 billion in monthly bond purchases. In Europe, policy makers agreed to raise their inflation goal to 2% and allow room for an overshoot when needed, according to officials familiar with the matter—which could give more scope for sustaining ultra-loose policy for longer. Meanwhile, China signaled the possibility of a reserve requirement ratio cut.

(Bloomberg contributed to the story)

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