The Indian equity benchmarks opened on a positive note on the last session of calendar year 2021, led by gains in heavyweights such as Reliance Industries, Titan Company. The benchmark S&P Sensex reclaimed the 58,000 mark, opening higher by over 300 points, while the Nifty 50 topped 17,300, up by 99 points.
Reliance Industries, Hindalco, Titan Company, Axis Bank were among the top gainers in early trade. On the flipside, NTPC, IndusInd Bank, ONGC were among the top losers on the NSE. Mid- and small-cap shares traded on a positive note as Nifty Midcap 100 index was up 0.82 per cent and the Nifty Smallcap 100 index rose 1.04 per cent.
Asian shares were trading mixed Friday. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan is up over 0.6 percent. Japan's Nikkei index closed 0.4 percent lower on Thursday and remained closed for trading Friday. Chinese blue chips were up 0.4 per cent.
Global stock markets reversed gains after a day-long rally on Thursday even as fresh US economic data indicated that a recent uptick of Omicron COVID-19 variant-related infections has not yet led to a surge in layoffs.
MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.15 per cent, while the pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.15 per cent. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.25 per cent while the S&P 500 lost 0.30 per cent. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.16 per cent.
In the crude market, oil prices closed lower yesterday, with US crude falling 0.13 per cent to $76.46 per barrel, and Brent landing at $79.30, up 0.09 per cent on the day. Brent has climbed more than 50 per cent this year.
On the stock-specific front, textile stocks will be in focus today as the 46th goods and services tax (GST) Council meeting will be conducted today - which is expected to take a decision on reversing the hike in rates for textile and footwear sectors. Many states have flagged higher tax rates on textile products and demanded that the rate hike be put on hold.
Earlier, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), on the recommendations of the GST Council, announced that the GST rate on garments, textiles, and footwear would be raised from five per cent to 12 per cent with effect from January 1, 2022.
Among individual stocks, Reliance Industries will be in focus today as the leading conglomerate announced on Friday morning that its wholly-owned unit Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd (RNESL) will acquire a 100 per cent stake in UK-based solar batter company Faradion Ltd for GBP 100 million.
Leading cash management company CMS Info Systems will debut on the bourses today - being the last company to list on the stock exchanges in 2021. The Rs 1,100 crore IPO was subscribed 1.95 times by the end of its bidding process.
Also, the State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest lender announced an investment of Rs 34.03 crore for acquiring a 9.95 per cent stake in India International Clearing Corporation (IFSC) yesterday, for strengthening the financial markets infrastructure.
India recorded a 27 per cent jump in fresh COVID-19 cases as it reported 16,764 fresh infections today. The number of cases of the Omicron variant has risen to 1,270 in the country. Maharashtra continues to be the worst-affected state with 450 cases followed by Delhi which has 320 cases, so far.
On December 30, the number of fresh Covid cases in Delhi has crossed the 1000-mark after seven months, reaching 1,313 -- a 42 per cent rise over the previous day's figures.