Stock markets seen cautious ahead of Fed meet outcome; Zee stocks in focus


MUMBAI: Markets are likely be cautious on Wednesday ahead of the outcome of US Federal Reserve’s policy review meeting. Trends in SGX Nifty indicate a tepid opening for Indian benchmark indices. 

On Tuesday, the BSE Sensex ended at 59,005.27, up 514.34 points or 0.88% and the Nifty closed at 17,562, up 165.10 points or 0.95%.

Asian stock markets made a cautious start on Wednesday and the dollar held firm amid lingering nerves about the fallout from a looming failure at developer China Evergrande and anticipation the Federal Reserve may move a step closer to tapering.

Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.5%. Equity, bond and currency markets in China open for the first time on Wednesday since concern over Evergrande’s predicament triggered a wave of selling and contagion worries around the world.

Singapore-traded FTSE China futures are about 2% below Friday’s closing level. Safe-haven assets such as the yen and U.S. Treasuries rose slightly in morning trade.

Globally, markets have calmed following a sharp selloff on Monday, as analysts have downplayed the threat of Evergrande’s troubles becoming a “Lehman moment” and setting off a financial crisis. But stocks have scarcely bounced and commodities remain under pressure as concern shifts to the economic consequences.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 fell 0.1% to sit a little more than 4% below a record peak it made early in the month.

S&P 500 futures fell 0.4% in early Asia trade and the offshore yuan was under pressure near a one-month low at 6.4850 per dollar. Hong Kong markets are closed for a holiday.

Evergrande, as expected, missed interest payments due on Monday to at least two of its largest bank creditors, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. The next test looms on Thursday when the firm is due to pay $83.5 million in interest on bonds – failure to do so within 30 days would put the bonds in default.

The firm’s distress has already spread to other developers, and an index of high-yield Chinese corporate debt–predominantly issued by property firms–has crumbled. But investors are now anticipating some sort of regulatory response from Beijing and hoping global fallout can be contained.

Back home, after Zee Entertainment and Dish TV, the Subhash Chandra family is bracing for another shareholder activism at Zee Learn and Zee Media Corporation ahead of their soon to be convened extraordinary general body meeting, PTI reported.

Indiabulls Housing Finance on Tuesday said it has raised 807.83 crore through issuance of non-convertible debentures (NCDs). This was the tranche-1 NCD issue of the housing finance company with a base issue size of 200 crore and a greenshoe option of up to 800 crore.

Singapore’s state investor Temasek Holdings and Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management are among at least four global investors looking to buy US private equity firm KKR and Co. Inc.’s 60% stake in Ramky Enviro Engineers for at least $1 billion, according to a Mint report.

In currency markets, the dollar stayed bid as traders eyed risks that the Federal Reserve might surprise markets by bringing forward hike projections from 2023 to 2022. The dollar held firm at $1.1722 against the euro and bought 109.13 yen.

It also kept the heavily-shorted Australian dollar near a one-month low at $0.7229, while the kiwi was under pressure after a central bank official dampened expectations of a big rate hike at next month’s meeting.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield was slightly lower at 1.3209%.

Most analysts think the Fed will not go into detail about its tapering plans – saving that for November – but say risks lie in board members’ “dot plot” of rates projections.

In commodities, copper hovered near a month low and oil prices found support from a relaxation of inbound travel rules, likely to boost airline fuel demand.

Brent crude futures were last up 0.4% at $74.64 a barrel and U.S. crude rose 0.4% to $70.75. Gold was supported at $1,774 an ounce.

(Reuters contributed to the story)

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