Equity benchmarks were treading water on Wednesday as investors braced for a hefty rate hike from the US Federal Reserve and clues on further hikes.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.04 per cent to 17,822, while the S&P BSE Sensex was flat at 59,732.61 in early trade.

The Fed is set to announce its decision at the end of a two-day policy meeting later in the day. Rate futures traders are pricing in an 81 per cent chance of a 75-basis-point hike and a 19 per cent probability of a jumbo 100 bps increase.

Related Stories
Drone maker ideaForge weighs $125 million IPO: report
The Qualcomm-backed firm is seeking a valuation of about $700 million in the share sale

Meanwhile, the Centre is in no hurry to push inflation—now hovering near seven per cent and eight-year highs—back to the central bank's four per cent medium-term target, for fear that aggressive rate hikes could hurt economic growth, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Among stocks, shares of Central Bank of India jumped 12 per cent after the Reserve Bank of India took the State-owned commercial bank off its prompt corrective action list.