INDIA STOCKS-Indian shares set to open higher ahead of RBI policy decision

Credit: REUTERS/THOMAS WHITE

BENGALURU, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Indian shares are set to open higher on Friday, ahead of the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) monetary policy decision, where the bank is expected to stand pat on key rates for a fifth consecutive meeting.

India's GIFT Nifty GIFc1 was trading down 0.04% from its overnight close at 21,073 as of 7:57 a.m. IST, indicating that the Nifty 50 .NSEI will open higher than Thursday's close of 20,901.15.

The RBI's rate decision will be announced at 10:00 a.m. IST.

A Reuters poll of 64 economists in early December showed that the RBI would keep its key repo rate unchanged at 6.50% on Friday.

"We expect the RBI to remain on cautious hold," said Rahul Bajoria, managing director and head of emerging markets (EM) Asia (ex-China) Economics at Barclays.

The pause in rate hikes so far this fiscal year, after an increase of 250 basis points in fiscal 2023, has helped the benchmark Nifty 50 .NSEI jump 20.40% since the end of March and hit all-time highs.

"We remain positive on Indian markets, supported by a favourable domestic backdrop (economic growth, earnings), helped by an improvement in external factors like U.S. Treasury yields and crude prices," said analysts at HSBC Global Research.

The Nifty 50 is on course to extend gains for sixth week in a row, longest weekly winning streak since December 2020.

Wall Street equities closed higher overnight, after weekly jobless claims data indicated cooling of the U.S. labour market, aiding expectations of a Federal Reserve rate cut by March 2024. Asian markets opened higher. MKTS/GLOB

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold Indian shares worth 15.64 billion rupees ($187.67 million) on a net basis on Thursday while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) offloaded shares worth 96.6 million rupees, according to provisional data from the National Stock Exchange.

STOCKS TO WATCH:

** Zomato ZOMT.NS: Japan's SoftBank seeks to sell shares worth $135 million in the company at 120.50 rupees per share, according to reports.

** Olectra Greentech OLEC.NS: Electric bus maker secures order worth 628 million rupees for the supply of 40 electric buses.

** Maruti Suzuki MRTI.NS: Company gets favourable order from Gujarat GST Authority, dropping a demand of 17.9 million rupees.

($1 = 83.3360 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee)

((bharath.rajeswaran@thomsonreuters.com; +91 9769003463;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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