January 9, 2020 / 4:57 AM / 9 days ago

Indian shares surge as easing Middle East tensions steady crude prices

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares rose on Thursday, as crude prices steadied after U.S.-Iran tensions appeared to ebb, bringing relief to the world’s No. 3 oil consumer.

FILE PHOTO: A man walks out of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai, India, January 3 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File photo

Global markets have closely tracked any escalations in the conflict over the U.S. killing of an Iranian general last week, due to fears of disruption to oil supplies, which sent crude prices soaring this week, and the rupee and Indian equities lower.

Broader Asian shares also rebounded on Thursday. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1%, as did Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Shanghai blue chips, reversing Wednesday’s losses.

The NSE Nifty 50 index climbed 1.09% to 12,156.50 by 0403 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was 1.07% higher at 41,256.14. The Nifty index ended lower on Wednesday, see-sawing between a higher and lower close for each session this week.

“Nothing materially came besides the sanction ... because of which crude has corrected a lot. That is something which is beneficial for emerging markets and India specifically,” said Neeraj Dewan, director at Quantum Securities in New Delhi.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday tempered days of angry rhetoric and suggested Iran was “standing down” after it fired missiles at U.S. forces in Iraq overnight, as both sides looked to defuse the crisis.

Brent crude futures rose 55 cents, or 0.8%, to $65.99 a barrel by 0109 GMT after tumbling 4.1% on Wednesday.

Among major gainers on Nifty, shares of JSW Steel Ltd gained 3.8% and those of Bharti Infratel Ltd rose 4.9%.

Oil marketing companies Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd and Indian Oil Corporation Ltd rose 1.6% and 1.8%, respectively.

Infosys Ltd rose 0.8% ahead of its quarterly earnings on Friday.

Reporting by Philip George in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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