Indian blue-chip indices opened in the red on Friday, dragged by IT, metal and auto stocks, ahead of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) monetary policy decision, where the central bank is expected to maintain its key interest rate for a seventh straight meeting.

The BSE Sensex was trading 267 points or 0.36% lower at 73,960. Nifty50 was trading at 22,438, down 76 points or 0.34% at around 9.21 am.

From the Sensex pack, Tech Mahindra, JSW Steel, L&T, Tata Steel, Axis Bank, and SBI opened in the red, while Bajaj Finserv, HDFC Bank, M&M, Nestle and Kotak Bank traded with gains.

On the sectoral front, Nifty Metal fell 0.9%, while Nifty IT declined 0.5%. Nifty Bank, Auto, Media, and Oil & Gas also traded lower.

Among individual stocks, Prestige Estates Projects rose 3.5% after the company caught hold of a 21-acre land parcel in Bengaluru’s Whitefield to develop a residential project at an estimated cost of Rs 4,500 crore.

Bandhan Bank surged 2.5% after the bank’s loans and advances clocked Rs 1.28 lakh crore in Q4, registering an 18% growth year-on-year. The total deposits stood at Rs 1.35 lakh crore with a 25% rise year-on-year.Experts View
“There could be sideways movement ahead of the RBI announcement on monetary policy and banking stocks are likely to be in the spotlight. While interest rates are likely to remain unchanged in view of stubborn inflation, the street will be eyeing RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das commentary,” said Prashanth Tapse, Senior VP (Research), Mehta Equities.

Commanding attention will also be the US nonfarm payrolls report to be released in the overnight trades today, the Federal Reserve’s rate cut hopes primarily rest on this jobs report, Tapse added.

Mandar Bhojane of Choice Broking, said, “Analysis of the Nifty trading at an all-time high level suggests that if the index manages to close above the 22,600 level, it could extend its upward movement towards 22,800 and 23,000 in the forthcoming days. On the downside, immediate support levels are seen at 22,300 and 22,200.”

Global Markets
Wall Street equities closed lower overnight, after comments from three Federal Reserve officials added to worries that the U.S. central bank could delay the onset of rate cut.

Markets expect a 25 basis point Fed rate cut in June, but recent data, including manufacturing and labour market readings, had spurred concerns over U.S. rate outlook.

Asian markets opened lower, with the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index dropping 0.75%.

FII/DII Tracker
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) net sold shares worth Rs 1,136.47 crore, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) offloaded Rs 893.11 crore worth of stocks on April 4th, provisional data from the NSE showed.

Oil jumps over $90/barrel
Oil prices extended gains on Friday and headed for a second weekly gain, supported by geopolitical tensions in Europe and the Middle East, concerns over tightening supply, and optimism about global fuel demand growth as economies improve.

Brent crude climbed 41 cents, or 0.45%, to $91.06 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $86.84 a barrel, up 25 cents, or 0.3%.

Currency Watch
The Indian rupee fell 6 paise to 83.45 against the US dollar in early trade. The dollar index, which tracks the movement of the greenback against a basket of six major world currencies, increased 0.19% to 104.32 level.

(With inputs from agencies)


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