(Reuters) Indian shares are set to open lower on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve left rates unchanged as anticipated but hinted at the possibility of more hikes later this year.
India's NSE stock futures listed on the Singapore Exchange were down 0.18% at 18,801.50, as of 8:09 a.m.
Wall Street equities closed higher on Wednesday after the Fed maintained a status quo on rates for the first time in 17 months but signaled in new projections that borrowing costs may still need to rise by as much as half of a percentage point by the end of this year.
The pause was out of caution to allow the central bank to ascertain a proper endpoint of the rate cycle to bring down inflation, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said.
Investors now await policy decisions from the European Central Bank on Thursday and the Bank of Japan on Friday.
Asian markets were little changed as weak economic data from China offset early gains following the cut in key medium-term lending rates to revive the economy.
Indian shares extended gains for a third consecutive session on Wednesday. Both benchmarks were less than 1% below their all-time highs. The midcap index closed at a fresh all-time high, while the smallcap index hit a new 52-week high.
Analysts said the sentiment in domestic equities remained positive due to improving macroeconomic indicators and steady buying by foreign institutional investors (FII) but cautioned that consolidation is likely to continue for the next few weeks.
FIIs bought 17.15 billion rupees ($209 million) worth of Indian equities on a net basis on Wednesday, while domestic investors sold 6.55 billion rupees ($80 million) of shares, as per provisional NSE data.
Stocks to watch
** Axis Bank: U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital is looking to sell 0.7% stake (worth $267 million) in the lender, according to a report.
** Central Depository Services: Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) offloads 4.74 million shares (4.5% stake) for 4.68 billion rupees. ICICI Prudential Technology Fund buys 528,148 shares at 985 rupees per share.
** HCL Tech: Co expands partnership with Google Cloud to help enterprises leverage generative Artificial Intelligence (AI)
** SJVN: Co signs memorandum of understanding with Maharashtra State Power Generation Company to develop 5,000 Mega Watt renewable energy projects in the state.