Indian shares were tipped to open slightly lower on Wednesday, ahead of a widely expected interest rate hike, with traders waiting for details on the central bank's outlook in its fight against domestic inflation.
India's NSE stock futures listed on the Singapore Exchange were down 0.09% as of 7:38 a.m IST, while the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.16% higher.
The Reserve Bank of India is widely expected to raise rates by a smaller 35 basis points (bps), after three back-to-back 50-bps moves to tame stubbornly high inflation. The decision is due at 10:00 a.m. IST.
But the focus will be on the central bank's outlook on growth and prices for direction as inflation in Asia's third-largest economy continues to stay above its tolerance band, including in October when it hit a three-month low of 6.77%.
The signs of cooling inflation and the drop in crude oil prices in recent months, which is beneficial for a big crude importers like India, has sent the benchmark equity indexes on a rally to all-time highs.
However, the indexes have wavered in the past three sessions ahead of the RBI meeting and as strong U.S. data cooled expectations that the Federal Reserve would slow down its pace of rate hikes.
The Nifty 50 index settled 0.31% lower at 18,642.75 on Tuesday, while the S&P BSE Sensex finished 0.33% down to 62,626.36. They have climbed 9% each since the last RBI rate hike on September 30.
Stocks To Watch:
** Vedanta: Company will consider the proposal to offer non-convertible debentures worth 5 billion rupees ($60.62 million) in its board meeting on Dec. 9.
** Ircon International: Co was awarded a project worth 1.22 billion rupees by Ministry of Transport, Sri Lanka.
** Siemens: Co emerged as the lowest bidder (L1) for electric locomotives project in Gujarat ($1 = 82.4800 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Rama Venkat and Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee)