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MUMBAI: Indian equity markets are likely to rise on Thursday following global cues, while trends in SGX Nifty indicate a firm opening for domestic benchmark indices. On Wednesday, the BSE Sensex ended at 49,733.84, up 789.70 points or 1.61%. The Nifty closed at 14,864.55, up 211.50 points or 1.44%.

Asian shares rose in early trade on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve said it was too early to consider rolling back emergency support for the economy, and as US President Joe Biden unveiled plans for a $1.8 trillion stimulus package.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that "it is not time yet" to begin discussing any change in policy after the US central bank left interest rates and its bond-buying programme unchanged, despite taking a more optimistic view of the country's economic recovery.

Powell's comments came before Biden's unveiling of a sweeping package for families and education in his first speech to Congress. Biden declared that the United States is “on the move again", 100 days after he took office, in a speech to a joint session of Congress that he used to promote a $1.8 trillion plan he said is needed to compete with China.

Early in the Asian trading day, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.1%.

In India, major companies that are expected to announce March quarter earnings today are Hindustan Unilever, Bajaj Auto, Titan Company, Ambuja Cement, Bajaj Holding, Sriram Transport and AU Small Finance Bank.

Maruti Suzuki will be in focus today as the carmaker announced on Wednesday that it is closing its factories in Haryana to make oxygen available for medical needs. The auto company has decided to advance its maintenance shutdown, originally scheduled for June, to 1 to 9 May. Production in all factories will close for maintenance during this period.

Tata Communications Ltd on Wednesday reported a net profit of 1,251 crore for FY21, compared with a loss of 86 crore in FY20. Its consolidated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) grew 29.5% year-on-year (y-o-y) to Rs4,261 crore. But consolidated revenue was flat at 17,100 crore.

Meanwhile, the dollar dropped 0.15% against the yen to 108.43 and the euro gained 0.2% to 1.2147 following the Fed's decision to maintain supportive policies.

Oil prices extended gains on Thursday after rising 1% in the previous session as bullish forecasts for a demand recovery this summer offset concerns of rising COVID-19 cases in India, Japan and Brazil.

Brent crude for June rose 0.37%, to $67.52 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for June was at $64.12 a barrel, up 0.41%.

Spot gold added 0.42% to $1,788.72 an ounce.

(Reuters contributed to the story)

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