Trading of Nifty 50 index futures on the Singapore stock exchange indicates that the Nifty could rise 29 points at the opening bell on positive global cues.

Overseas, Asian shares were trading higher, taking cues from Wall Street's overnight advance. Japan logged a trade surplus in June, after booking a deficit the previous month, official data showed Thursday, with exports rising despite ongoing international trade tensions. Finance ministry data showed a surplus of 721.4 billion yen ($6.4 billion), up 66.5% from a year earlier. Japan's exports were up 6.7% while imports also edged up 2.5%, according to the data.

US stocks finished mostly higher Wednesday as an anecdotal account of business conditions in the Federal Reserve's 12 districts painted an upbeat picture of the domestic economy. The Fed's Beige Book revealed a domestic economy that has rapidly expanded, but one that has run out of room to grow much faster as shortages of skilled workers and rising costs of raw materials risk impeding another leg of expansion. The anecdotal account of business conditions in the Fed's 12 districts showed that 11 regions of the country were growing at a modest pace or even faster. Only the states around St. Louis reported slight growth.

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell appeared before the House Committee on Financial Services Wednesday, 18 July 2018, to face questioning from lawmakers on the Fed's plans going forward. Powell also faced questioning Tuesday.

Testifying on Wednesday in front of the House Financial Services Committee, Powell emphasized the US central bank's desire to raise rates further this year and said he sees few signs that an economic recession is on the horizon.

On a US data front, Housing starts in June dropped by 12.3% from lowered numbers in May and were 3% lower than year-ago levels.

Closer home, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 95.68 crore yesterday, 18 July 2018, as per provisional data released by the stock exchanges. Domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 111.01 crore yesterday, 18 July 2018, as per provisional data.

Among corporate news, Bajaj Finance and Kotak Mahindra Bank will announce April-June 2018 earnings today, 19 July 2018.

Key benchmark indices dropped in volatile trade yesterday, 18 July 2018, as the opposition parties tabled a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government. The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, fell 146.52 points or 0.4% to settle at 36,373.44. The Nifty 50 index fell 27.60 points or 0.25% to settle at 10,980.45. The Nifty settled below the psychologically important 11,000 mark after moving above and below that level in intraday trade.

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