Indian markets are likely to open down with a negative bias tracking SGX Nifty.
U.S. markets had a flat session after posting record closing highs. Investors also
received the latest batch of earnings news from big-name companies such as AT&T
(T), Ford (F), Comcast (CMCSA) and Caterpillar (CAT). AT&T reported quarterly
earnings in line with estimates. Ford reported quarterly adjusted earnings that
matched estimates on better than expected revenues. Comcast reported quarterly
results that exceeded estimates. The company also announced a 2:1stock split,
raised its dividend by 15 percent, and increased its buyback to $12bln. Heavy
equipment maker Caterpillar reported better than expected quarterly earnings but
provided disappointing guidance.
UK stocks closed flat on Thursday in spite of encouraging economic reports out of
Germany and the U.K. that provided a boost to investor sentiment. Royal Bank of
Scotland Group jumped 2.37 percent after setting a $3.8bln provision to cover fines
and litigation costs. Unilever dropped 4.70 percent after the consumer products firm
cautioned of a difficult trading environment after reporting lower-than-expected
fourth-quarter sales.
Indian markets continued their pre-budget rally for the third straight session on
Wednesday. This bullishness in Indian stocks was bolstered by positive global cues
as well. Bank stocks rallied strongly with the Nifty Bank index closing up 2.36
percent closely followed by the PSU bank index which closed up 2.02 percent.