Market Ahead, Jan 21: Top factors that could guide markets today

The market bulls will make a dash for the 50,000 mark on Sensex, and in the backdrop of strong cues from global peers and solid Q3 earnings numbers so far, the feat seems achievable. SGX Nifty was trading over 60 points higher at 14,706 around 7.10 am, indicating a firm start for benchmark indices. However, volatility is expected to be high ahead of the weekly F&O expiry.

In overnight session, US stocks closed at record highs as investors grew optimistic that recent federal spending will revive growth and bolster corporate earnings. Meanwhile, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.83%, the S&P 500 gained 1.39% and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.97%.

Tracking gains in US peers, Asian stocks rose for the third straight session. Japan’s Topix index climbed 1%, South Korea’s Kospi added 0.9% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.8%.

That apart, policy decisions are due today from the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank and will be scrutinised by investors globally for commentary on stimulus measures.

In the oil markets, Brent prices hovered close to the $56 a barrel mark amid hopes that Biden’s administration will deliver hefty pandemic-related economic stimulus that will lift fuel demand and enact policies that will tighten crude supply.

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

Shares of Reliance Industries will be in focus today after Sebi gave a go-ahead to Future Group’s scheme of arrangement and sale of assets to Reliance, based on which the BSE also granted its “no adverse observation” report to the Rs 24,713-crore deal.

Bajaj Finance’s net profit fell 30 per cent to Rs 1,049 crore in the December quarter compared to Rs 1,488 crore posted in the same period last year. The lender also said that it will foray into the payments space in the ongoing quarter.

Competition Commission of India approved the acquisition of stake in Max Life Insurance by Axis Bank, Axis Capital and Axis Securities.

Asian Paints, Bajaj Auto, MCX India, SBI Cards and Payment Services, Bandhan Bank and Biocon are among 57 firms set to post their December quarter numbers today.

Meanwhile, in the primary market, a third IPO for this week by Home First Finance would open for subscription today. The firm on Wednesday raised a little over Rs 346 crore from anchor investors. The company has fixed a price band of Rs 517-518 a share for its initial share-sale.

That apart, IPO by IRFC closed on Wednesday and garnered 3.49 times subscription while Indigo Paints was subscribed 1.90 times on Day 1 of the issue.

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