Indian shares closed flat tracking weak global markets and ahead of the exit poll results for crucial state elections.
The 30-share benchmark Sensex closed 27 points higher or 0.1% up at 28929 while Nifty was up just 0.03% at 8,927, little changed from Wednesday.
Maruti Suzuki led the Sensex chart gaining 1.7% while SBi was up 1.3%, Axis Bank 1.2% and Tata Motors 1.1%.
Analysts expect choppy trade ahead of state assembly election results of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand scheduled to come out on March 11.
A win in UP will bolster Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chances of winning the second term when the Lok Sabha elections are held in 2019.
In Asia, Japan and Korean markets were up in early trade. Nikkei was up 0.4% and Kospi 0.2%.
Japan’s economy grew by 1.2% as capital expenditure grew at its fastest pace in almost three years, which may prompt Bank of Japan to start rolling back its easy money policy.
On Wednesday, Wall Street ended down on lower energy stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.33% at 20,855.59, while the broader S&P 500 closed 0.23% lower and Nasdaq down marginally 0.06%.
The dollar rose on Thursday as robust US private jobs in February increased chances that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at its March 15 policy review.
Traders now price in an 85.2% chance of a rate increase, up from 30% last week, after hawkish comments from Fed officials including its chief Janet Yellen.