Indian shares set to open lower as Mideast tensions trigger global selloff

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian shares are set to open lower on Thursday, tracking a selloff in global stocks as worries of escalating tensions in the Middle East triggered volatility in oil prices.

India’s GIFT Nifty was down 0.11% at 19,572.50 as of 8:07 a.m. IST. The Nifty 50 closed 0.71% lower on Wednesday at 19,671.10.

All three major Wall Street indexes lost over 1% after a call for oil embargo on Israel by Iran triggered a spike in crude prices on fears of a spillover of the Israel-Hamas clashes into a wider conflict.

Asian markets declined, with the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index falling over 1%. [MKTS/GLOB]

Brent crude futures rose to an intraday high of $93 per barrel on Wednesday, their highest since the beginning of the Middle East conflict.

However, oil prices reversed gains and hovered around $91 on Thursday after OPEC showed no signs of supporting Iran’s call to impose an oil boycott on Israel.

Separately, the U.S. issued a six-month licence to allow more oil from Venezuela, easing sanctions and global crude supply fears. [O/R]

Investors also await market reaction to key quarterly results IndusInd Bank and Wipro, among others.

While IndusInd Bank reported strong September-quarter earnings aided by steady retail loan demand, Wipro posted a surprise fall in revenue, and warned that weakness in client spending could hurt its results in the ongoing quarter.

Consumer stocks will also be in focus, as the results of Hindustan Unilever, ITC and Nestle India are due later in the day. Nifty 50 constituent Ultratech cement will also report earnings.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold Indian shares worth 18.32 billion rupees ($220 million) on a net basis on Wednesday. Domestic investors bought shares worth 14.70 billion rupees.


** Bajaj Auto: Co posts smaller-than-expected growth in Q2 revenue on weak demand.

** Housing and Urban Development Corp: Government to exercise over-subscription option for 3.5% stake or 70 million shares in the offer-for-sale on Thursday, in addition to the base issue size.

** LTIMindtree: Co posts better-than-expected Q2 revenue, profit.

** Persistent Systems: Co beats Q2 revenue estimate on strong order book.

($1 = 83.2570 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Varun H K)