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Sensex, Nifty To Open Tad Higher As General Elections Begin

Indian shares look set to open a tad higher on Thursday as ninety-one Lok Sabha constituencies spread across 18 states and two Union Territories go to polls today in the first phase of elections.

The election will be held in seven phases, while the results will be announced on May 23.

Various opinion polls show that the Narendra Modi-led NDA government may scrape through with a wafer-thin majority.

Meanwhile, IT biggies TCS and Infosys will kick off the March quarter earnings season on Friday and most brokerages remain optimistic about growth accelerating in the sector.

Benchmark indexes Sensex and the Nifty fell sharply on Wednesday amid growth worries and heightened trade tensions while the rupee closed up by 19 paise at 69.11 per dollar, extending gains for the second straight session.

Asian stocks held firm near eight-month highs this morning after the European Central Bank left its ultra-easy stance unchanged as expected and EU leaders agreed to extend the deadline for U.K. to leave the union to the end of October.

On the trade front, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that a call with Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He on Tuesday night was productive and the two sides have settled on a mechanism to police any agreement, including new enforcement offices.

Gold held near a two-week high touched in the previous session as the dollar struggled for a fourth straight day. Oil prices dipped after data showed U.S. crude stockpiles surged to their highest levels in almost 17 months amid record production.

U.S. stocks rose overnight as U.S. consumer prices rose more than usual in March and minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting suggested that interest rates could shift in either direction.

The Dow inched up marginally, while the S&P 500 gained 0.4 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 0.7 percent to reach its best closing level in over six months.

European markets ended mostly higher on Wednesday despite ECB President Mario Draghi confirming slower growth momentum in the eurozone.

The pan European Stoxx 600 inched up 0.3 percent. France's CAC 40 index rose by 0.3 percent and the German DAX gained half a percent while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 slipped 0.1 percent.

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