INDIA STOCKS-Middle East tensions hurt Indian stocks; Wipro falls on weak earnings

By Bharath Rajeswaran

BENGALURU, Oct 19 (Reuters)Indian shares fell on Thursday, tracking a selloff in global stocks on worries over escalating tensions in the Middle East, which triggered volatility in oil prices.

The NSE Nifty 50 index .NSEI was down 0.42% at 19,588.70 as of 10:01 a.m. IST, and the S&P BSE Sensex .BSESN fell 0.44% to 65,582.35.

All the 13 Nifty sectoral indexes declined. Metals .NIFTYMET and real estate .NIFTYREAL lost over 1% each, while financial serices .NIFTYFIN fell 0.8% and information technology (IT) .NIFTYIT shed 0.5%.

“The tide is turning the other way for Indian markets, and a prolonged period of time-correction cannot be ruled out,” said Umesh Kumar Mehta, chief investment officer at Samco Asset Management.

“The escalation of tensions in the Middle East has historically had lasting impact on equity markets,” he added.

Global stocks fell and oil prices rose on Wednesday on fears of a spillover of the Israel-Hamas clashes into a wider conflict, after Iran called for sanctions and an oil embargo on Israel.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 rose to $93 per barrel on Wednesday, their highest since the beginning of the Middle East conflict, before steadying around $91 in Asia hours on Thursday after OPEC showed no signs of supporting Iran’s call.

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

Amid the slide in markets, Bajaj Auto BAJA.NS jumped 4.5% and was the top Nifty 50 gainer, after topping September-quarter profit estimates on sales boost in premium motorcycles.

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

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