Markets are likely to be firm on Thursday following steady global equities. Trend in SGX Nifty also suggest a positive opening of Indian benchmark indices. On Wednesday, the BSE Sensex ended at 40,616.14, up 355.01 points or 0.88%. The Nifty closed at 11,908.50, up 95 points or 0.80%.

Asian share markets firmed in early deals while bonds held big gains as investors awaited a clear result from the US election, with the likely prospect of policy gridlock seemingly warmly welcomed by Wall Street overnight.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.5% to reach its highest since March 2018. Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.9% to a nine-month top and South Korea put on 1.5%.

Both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden have paths to 270 Electoral College votes as states tallied mail-in ballots. Biden held a narrow lead in Wisconsin while Trump’s campaign filed a lawsuit to try and halt vote counting in that state.

Technology and healthcare stocks in the US market had led the charge higher overnight on bets a divided government would stunt chances for big reforms or corporate tax hikes. That helped the Dow end up 1.34% on Wednesday, while the S&P 500 gained 2.20% and the Nasdaq 3.85%.

Top companies that will declare September quarter results today are Godrej Consumer Products, Adani Transmission, Container Corporation of India, Adani Power, Bajaj Electricals and Astrazeneca Pharma.

State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest lender, on Wednesday reported a 52% year-on-year jump in net profit in the September quarter to 4,574 crore backed by robust growth in retail loans and lower provisions for bad loans.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday filed the first charge-sheet against former ICICI Bank chief executive officer and managing director Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar, and Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot for money laundering. The probe agency has also named Videocon International Electronics Ltd, Videocon Industries Ltd, Nu Power Renewables Pvt. Ltd and Supreme Energy Pvt. Ltd in the chargesheet.

Institutional Investor EuroPacific Growth Fund on Wednesday sold 25.76 million shares or 1.27% of Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd, for 907 crore through block deals. As per data available on the BSE, EuroPacific Growth Fund offloaded a total of 25.76 million shares at an average price of 352.01 valuing the deal for 906.76 crore.

Bond markets assumed a divided government would greatly reduce the chance of debt-funded spending on stimulus and infrastructure next year, and thus less bond supply.

That saw 10-year treasury yields dive all the way back to 0.75%, having touched a five-month top of 0.93% at one stage on Wednesday.

The overnight drop of 11 basis points was the largest single-day move since the covid -19 market panic of March.

The diminished chance of massive US fiscal stimulus will also pile pressure on central banks globally to inject further liquidity, just as the Federal Reserve and Bank of England hold policy meetings.

A renewed focus on Fed easing could weigh on the dollar once more, after a wild ride overnight. The dollar index was last at 93.403, a lot nearer Wednesday’s low of 93.070 than the top of 94.308.

Likewise, the dollar settled back to 104.32 yen having briefly been as high as 105.32 overnight. The euro edged up to $1.1733, well away from a low of $1.1602.

Sterling had troubles of its own after the Telegraph newspaper reported the BoE was considering a move into negative interest rates.That left the pound flat at $1.2966, compared with an overnight peak of $1.3139.

All the talk of policy easing put a floor under gold prices, leaving the metal a shade firmer at $1,904 an ounce.

Oil prices held most of their overnight gains made on wagers a deadlocked U.S. government would be unable to pass major environmental legislation that favoured other forms of energy.

US crude eased back 31 cents to $38.84 a barrel, but that followed a jump of 4% on Wednesday, while Brent crude futures were last at $41.20.

(Reuters contributed to the story)

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