BSE Sensex
BSE SensexReuters

Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensex is expected to remain sluggish on Wednesday as investors are likely to remain watchful on a day when the Parliament will vote on the government's decision to allow foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail.

Investors are focusing on the crucial vote in the parliament on whether to allow 51 percent foreign investment in the retail sector. While the ruling Congress party is favouring the move some of its coalition partners in the central government have already voiced their disagreement.

On Wednesday, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average was up 0.14 percent, or 13.24 points, to 9445.70. Among major gainers were Shinsei Bank Ltd (2.76 percent), Asahi Kasei Corp (2.13 percent) and NEC Corp (2.05 percent).

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1 percent, or 219.02 points, to 22018.99. Among major gainers were China Mobile Ltd (1.38 percent) and Li & Fung Ltd (1.29 percent).

South Korea's Kospi Composite Index advanced 0.27 percent, or 5.19 points, to 1940.37. Shares of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd rose 0.91 percent and shares of Hyundai Motor Co gained 0.44 percent.

On Tuesday, the US stocks fell as investor confidence was weighed down amid uncertainty surrounding whether Congress will reach a deal to avert the fiscal cliff. Market players worry that unless the Congress acts, the scheduled rise in tax rates and spending cuts will plunge the economy into recession early next year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.11 percent, the S&P 500 Index was down 0.17 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.18 percent.

European markets were mixed Tuesday as investor concerns about the weakening global economy was revived with the growing concerns over the fiscal cliff in the US. London's FTSE 100 was down 2.20 points, Germany's DAX 30 index fell 0.09 points and France's CAC 40 gained 13.89 points.

On Tuesday Sensex rose 0.22 percent to 19,348.12 at the close. The overall market breadth was positive with 1607 advances against 1327 declines. The BSE's Midcap Index gained 0.10 percent to 6,992.27 and Smallcap Index advanced 0.59 percent to 7,381.73.