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Indices may rise on positive Asian cues
22-Mar-18   07:55 Hrs IST

Market is seen opening higher, tracking positive leads from Asian markets. Trading of Nifty 50 index futures on the Singapore stock exchange indicates that the Nifty could rise 38 points at the opening bell.

Overseas, Asian markets rose on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time this year. US stocks ended a volatile session slightly lower on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve delivered its sixth interest-rate increase since the end of 2015 and signaled it still expects to deliver two more before the end of the year.

The Fed raised overnight rates by 25 basis points, in line with market expectations. Central bank officials also raised their GDP forecast. Fed officials also released their projections for the federal funds rate, which remained unchanged for 2018. The central bank, however, raised its 2019 forecast, saying it sees the benchmark rate at 2.9%, up from a 2.7% projection released in December.

In US, the current-account deficit rose by 26% in the fourth quarter, widening to $128.20 billion from a revised $101.5 billion in the third quarter. Existing-home sales ran at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 5.54 million in February.

Closer home, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 98.44 crore yesterday, 21 March 2018, as per provisional data released by the stock exchanges. Domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 197.78 crore yesterday, 21 March 2018, as per provisional data.

Among corporate news, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (Sun Pharma) announced that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved ILUMYA (tildrakizumab-asmn) for the treatment of adults with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy. The announcement was made after market hours yesterday, 21 March 2018.

Axis Bank issued a clarification after market hours yesterday, 21 March 2018, to media reports referring to a bank guarantee issued by the bank to certain telecom companies. Axis Bank said that the bank guarantee has been issued by the bank on behalf of Bharti Airtel. Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), vide its order dated 9 January 2018 has required the bank guarantee to be returned. Axis Bank has been informed that the TDSAT order is operative. The bank is seeking clarification from TDSAT on the matter, and will comply with all directions.

Axis Bank clarified that the bank has non-fund based exposure of Rs 9222 crore to the telecom sector as of 31 December 2017, of which approximately 97% is to clients rated AA or better. The bank also informed that it has no exposure to Aircel.

After an intraday rally in first half, the key benchmark indices trimmed gains in second half of the day's trading session to end with modest gains yesterday, 21 March 2018. The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, gained 139.42 points or 0.42% to settle at 33,136.18. The Nifty 50 index rose 30.90 points or 0.31% to settle at 10,155.25. The Sensex settled above the psychological 33,000 mark, a day after falling below that level. Domestic stocks rose for second day in a row even as investors await US Federal Reserve's policy statement due later in the day.

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