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Sensex, Nifty Seen Higher At Open

Indian shares look set to open higher on Friday after oil prices fell sharply overnight and closed lower for the first time in four sessions on concerns about the outlook for energy demand and amid reports that the U.S. Department of Energy is suspending its plans to buy crude for the country's Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for May ended down $1.89, or about 7.7 percent, at $22.60 a barrel.

Growth worries may prompt traders to book profits at higher levels after CRISIL cut its base-case GDP growth forecast for fiscal 2021 to 3.5 percent from 5.2 percent expected earlier, saying the 21-day lockdown poses a material risk to the economic outlook.

Moody's Investors Service has placed the ratings on Tata Motors on review for a possible downgrade and said that the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic, alongside deteriorating global economic outlook and falling oil prices, are creating a "severe and extensive credit shock across many sectors, regions and markets."

India currently has 727 coronavirus cases with 20 deaths. Globally, the United States surpassed virus hotspots China and Italy with 82,404 cases of infection.

Benchmark indexes Sensex and the Nifty rose for a third straight session on Thursday amid short covering as futures and options contracts for the month of March expired.

The rupee gained another 78 paise to close at 75.16 against the dollar after the government unveiled a Rs 1.70 lakh crore economic package to ease the economic impact of lockdown.

Asian markets are trading higher this morning and the dollar rally faded amid bets that policymakers will roll out additional stimulus measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass a $2 trillion stimulus package when leaders of the House meet later today.

Gold prices slipped on profit taking while oil prices rose after G20 leaders pledged to inject over $5 trillion into the global economy to limit job and income losses from the coronavirus and "do whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic."

Overnight, U.S. stocks extended gains for a third day running as the Senate finally voted to approve a massive $2 trillion stimulus package and the Fed said it is working hard to support the economy in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Investors shrugged off a report showing that U.S. jobless claims surged by the most on record in the last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average spiked 6.4 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rallied 5.6 percent and the S&P 500 climbed 6.2 percent.

European markets rose sharply on Thursday as the Bank of England vowed more support for the economy and EU leaders gave eurozone finance ministers a fortnight to come up with a stronger response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The pan European Stoxx 600 rose 2.6 percent. The German DAX gained 1.3 percent, France's CAC 40 index jumped 2.5 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 advanced 2.2 percent.

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