Domestic stock markets are likely to start Thursday’s session on a lacklustre note amid cautious gains in Asian peers as investors awaited details of a$2-trillion stimulus package in the US to combat the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The Singapore Exchange (SGX) Nifty futures – an early indicator of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) Nifty index – declined as much as 106.95 points to 8,255.25 ahead of the opening of Indian markets. At 8:22 am, the SGX Nifty futures were down 66.20 points – or 0.79 per cent – at 8,296.00.
Equities in other Asian markets edged higher, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan moving up 0.3 per cent, but Japan’s Nikkei falling 2.2 per cent.Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.5 per cent in early trade – its third positive start in as many sessions, but also it most muted.Hong Kong futures were 1 per cent higher and China A50 futures were up 0.2 per cent.
Senate leaders hope to vote on the plan later on Wednesday in Washington, but it still faces criticism. The bill includes a $500 billion fund to help hard-hit industries and a comparable amount for payments up to $3,000 to millions of US families.
Overnight, the Dow Jones rose 2.39 per cent to end at 21,200.55 points, while the S&P 500 gained 1.15 per cent to 2,475.56 and Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.45 per cent to 7,384.30.
Back home, the markets may build up expectations ahead of the stimulus package to be unveiled by the finance minister some during the week to contain the economic after-effects of coronavirus (Covid-19).
There may also be volatility due to expiry of March F&O contracts. The NSE India VIX index – which gauges the markets’ expectation of volatility in the near term – cooled off 7.9 per cent to 77 on Wednesday, after several sessions of surge.
The benchmark indices had soared nearly 7 per cent on Wednesday as India began a 21-day countrywide lockdown to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic and on expectations that the government would unveil a stimulus package soon to cushion the economy from the economic fall-out of Covid-19.