Market Ahead, Feb 18: Top factors that could guide markets today

After falling for two days in a row, the market bulls look poised to make a comeback in Thursday’s session amid signs of a firm start for benchmark indices, however, weak cues from global peers and elevated crude prices could keep upside capped. At 7.15 am, Nifty futures on SGX traded 50 points up at 15,246.

Besides, stock-specific action and FII flows are also likely to influence the market mood. And some volatility can be anticipated on account of weekly F&O expiry.

In the overnight session, the Nasdaq closed lower while the S&P 500 was little changed as investors rotated out of technology shares and concerns about inflation added some pressure on stocks.

The S&P 500 lost 0.03% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.58%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, however, rose 0.29%.

Consequently, in Asia, stocks drifted after a mixed US session. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index dipped 0.1% in early trading, Japan’s Nikkei shed 0.03% while S.Korea’s Kospi declined 0.61%. China’s markets, meanwhile, reopened after the Lunar New Year break with stocks near record highs.

In oil markets, Brent oil climbed above $65 for the first time since January 2020 as US output plunged by a record amid the nation’s energy crisis, adding to a tightening global market. The WTI crude moved past $62 per barrel.

That apart, bitcoin traded just shy of the new record high of $52,640 reached overnight, with its roughly 58% surge this month prompting some analysts to warn that the rally might be unsustainable.

In other news, Sebi on Wednesday eased the listing norms for large companies, apparently paving the way for the much-awaited mega float of LIC. The regulator said large companies can now divest a minimum of 5% in the IPO, instead of 10%. Further, they will get five years, instead of three, to raise the public float to 25%.

Now, a look at the stock-specific developments that are likely to sway the market today:

Ambuja Cements and 4 other firms are slated to announce their December quarter numbers today.

Bharti Airtel will acquire 20 per cent stake in its DTH arm Bharti Telemedia from an affiliate of Warburg Pincus for about Rs 3,126 crore.

IndiaMart InterMESH has launched a QIP and the floor price has been set at Rs 9,065.61 per share.

Telecom equipment makers will be in focus after the government announced Rs 12,000-crore PLI scheme for telecom sector.

Dish TV India board approved raising funds of up to Rs 1,000 crore on Wednesday.

Lastly, in an update on the primary market, the IPO by Nureca got subscribed by 39.93 times on the last day of subscription on Wednesday. The category meant for QIBs was subscribed 3.10 times, non-institutional investors 31.59 times and retail individual investors 166.65 times. Meanwhile, RailTel IPO received 6.64 times subscription by the end of Day 2. The issue closes today.

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