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Markets may rally on govt's economic booster package

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a 20 trillion stimulus package, which is about 10% of India's GDP
  • Leading US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci warned that premature lifting of lockdowns could lead to more covid-19 outbreak

Indian stock markets are likely to surge on Wednesday as investors may cheer the economic stimulus package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last night. Rally in SGX Nifty indicates that key domestic indices may see a strong opening.

Modi on Tuesday announced a 20 trillion ($265 billion) stimulus package, which is about 10% of India's GDP, to soften the devastating fallout of the covid-19-induced lockdown.

The finance ministry said public-sector banks (PSBs) sanctioned 5.95 trillion in loans to small businesses, retail, agriculture and corporate sectors between 1 March and 8 May.

Vedanta Ltd promoter Anil Agarwal will delist his mining and oil- and power-producing company from all bourses.

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd and Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd will announce their March quarter results today.

Asian equities slipped in early deals as heightened concerns over covid-19 infections and the timing for a vaccine offset the lift from rebounding oil prices and upbeat corporate earnings in Europe.

Leading US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci on Tuesday warned lawmakers that a premature lifting of lockdowns could lead to additional outbreaks of the deadly coronavirus, which has killed 80,000 Americans and brought the economy to its knees.

US stocks dragged equity benchmarks lower after Fauci's remarks, who also said there was unlikely to be a treatment or vaccine in place by late August or early September. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.89%, the S&P 500 lost 2.05% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.06%.

The cautious mood was not helped by proposed legislation by a leading US Republican senator that would authorise President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on China if it fails to give a full account of events leading to the outbreak of the coronavirus. The bill would give the president authority to impose a range of sanctions, including freezing assets, travel bans and visa revocations, as well as restrictions on loans to Chinese businesses by US institutions and ban on US listings by Chinese firms.

Stock markets have rebounded sharply in recent weeks as the spread of the novel coronavirus slowed in some countries in Asia and Europe, while parts of the US economy began to reopen after weeks of lockdowns.

In commodity markets, oil prices rose after OPEC's de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, said it would increase supply curbs in June, while other members of the oil-producing group said they want to extend the deep cuts reached in April for a longer period than originally agreed.

The US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled at $25.78 a barrel, up $1.64, or 6.8%. Brent crude futures settled at $29.98 a barrel, gaining 35 cents, or 1.2%.

The dollar fell on Tuesday as the mood turned cautious a day ahead of US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's speech on economic issues and as investors weighed the chances of negative interest rates in the world's largest economy.

Safe-haven assets such as government bonds moved higher as investors edged away from riskier investments. The benchmark 10-year US Treasury notes last rose 15/32 in price to yield 0.6795.

Reuters contributed to the story.

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