Kunal Patil/ PTI

The stock market opened on a subdued note as indicated by SGX Nifty Futures. The market opened lower as indicated by SGX Nifty. SGX Nifty tanked 96.50 points or 0.61 percent to trade at 15,679 on Singaporean Exchange, as US Federal Reserve signaled that broad changes in policy may happen sooner than expected.

Sensex tumbled over 300 points in early trade on Thursday, tracking losses in index-heavyweights HDFC twins, ICICI Bank and Reliance Industries amid a largely negative trend in global equities.

The 30-share BSE index was trading 302.80 points or 0.58 percent lower at 52,199.18 in initial deals. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty declined 93.70 points or 0.59 percent to 15,673.85.

At 09:16 AM, the Sensex was down 282.82 points or 0.54 percent at 52,219.16. The Nifty was down 89.30 points or 0.57 percent. at 15,678.20.

Tech Mahindra was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding around 1 per cent, followed by PowerGrid, HDFC, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank.

On the other hand, Asian Paints, Sun Pharma, UltraTech Cement and HCL Tech were among the gainers.

In the previous session, Sensex ended 271.07 points or 0.51 per cent lower at 52,501.98, and Nifty retreated from a record and declined 101.70 points or 0.64 per cent to 15,767.55.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) were net sellers in the capital market as they offloaded shares worth Rs 870.29 crore on Wednesday, as per provisional exchange data.

Domestic equities do not look to be good as of now due to weak global cues, said Binod Modi Head-Strategy at Reliance Securities.

While soft bond yields and improving prospects of earnings visibility have resulted in FIIs’ flow to turn favourable in the last couple of days, slight hawkish policy meeting outcome of Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) may weigh on sentiments in the near term, he noted.

Asian markets down

Asian stock markets followed Wall Street lower Thursday after the Federal Reserve indicated it might ease off economic stimulus earlier than previously thought.

Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul fell while Shanghai gained after Fed policymakers, who previously forecast no interest rate hikes before 2024, estimated their benchmark rate would be raised twice by late 2023. The Fed also indicated it sees the US economy improving faster than expected.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index fell 0.5 percent on Wednesday after Fed projections showed some of its board members expect short-term interest rates to rise by half a percentage point by late 2023, PTI said.

Ultra-low rates from the Fed and other central banks have propelled a global stock market rebound from last year's plunge amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Fed may have delivered a more hawkish message for markets than many would have expected,” Yeap Jun Rong of IG said in a report. Still, Yeap said, differing views among board members suggests “much will still depend on how the economic recovery will play out.”

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 1.1 percent to 28,965.07 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was off less than 0.1 percent at 28,434.62. The Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.2 percent at mid-morning at 3,525.67.

The Kospi in Seoul sank 0.5 percent to 3,261.05 and Australia's S&P-ASX 200 shed 0.4 percent to 7,357.90. New Zealand, Singapore and Jakarta declined while Bangkok advanced.

The Fed's announcement Wednesday reflected growing confidence in the US economy as more people are vaccinated against the coronavirus and business activity revives.

Investors have been worried the Fed and other central banks might feel pressure to withdraw stimulus to cool rising inflation. Fed officials have said they believe that inflation will be short-lived, a stance they repeated Wednesday.

Fed chairman Jerome Powell said any changes are some way off but conditions have improved enough to start discussing when to slow bond purchases. The Fed is buying $120 billion a month to inject money into financial markets and keep longer-term interest rates low.

Companies to announce quarterly results today

Key companies announcing their quarterly results today Power Grid Corporation, Natco Pharma, Jammu & Kashmir Bank, DB Corp, Basant Agro Tech, Gyscoal Alloys etc. Immediate support and resistance for Nifty 50 are 15,600 and 15,850 respectively.

Fuel rates unchanged

A day after the hike, oil marketing companies (OMC) kept petrol and diesel prices unchanged on Thursday. In the national capital, petrol price remains at Rs 96.66 per litre while diesel at Rs 87.41 per litre.

In Mumbai, the price of petrol was held unchanged at an all-time high of Rs 102.82 per litre. Diesel price also continues to be at Rs 94.84 a litre, the highest among metros. In Chennai, petrol is priced at Rs 97.91 per litre while the price of diesel is Rs 92.04 per litre. The price of petrol in Kolkata is Rs 96.58 per litre while diesel is sold at Rs 90.25 per litre.

International oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.54 percent lower at $73.99 per barrel.

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