(Reuters) - Indian stocks were set to open lower on Thursday after weak U.S. economic data heightened recession worries, while persistent hawkish comments from U.S. Federal Reserve officials also added to aversion for risky assets.
India's NSE stock futures listed on the Singapore exchange were down 0.53% at 18,125, as of 8:17 a.m. IST.
U.S. data showed retail sales fell by the most in a year in December, while manufacturing output recorded its biggest drop in nearly two years.
Fed policymakers on Wednesday signalled they will push on with more interest rate hikes, even as inflation shows signs of having peaked and economic activity is slowing.
In broader markets, the MSCI's gauge of Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan was down 0.8%.
On the domestic front, Nifty 50 members Hindustan Unilever Ltd and Asian Paints are scheduled to report their third-quarter results later in the day. Investors will look for commentary on the impact of inflation on demand.
Meanwhile, foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Indian shares, offloading 3.19 billion rupees ($39.17 million) worth of equities on Wednesday. They snapped a 17-day selling streak the previous day, having sold 246.51 billion rupees since Dec. 23.
Domestic investors bought 12.26 billion rupees of shares, as per provisional NSE data.
Losses in equities could be capped as oil prices fell about 1% on worries of a possible U.S. recession, stoking fears of a drop in demand. India, the world's third-biggest importer of oil, benefits from a slide in prices as it brings down imported inflation.
STOCKS TO WATCH
** IndusInd Bank: It reported a bigger-than-expected jump in third-quarter profit on Wednesday, lifted by strong loan growth and a drop in provisions for bad loans.
** Aurobindo Pharma: U.S. drug regulator issues "Form 483" with two observations after inspecting the company's subsidiary APL Healthcare's units in Telangana. Co says that observations are procedural in nature.
** Vedanta: Co approves acquisition of Meenakshi Energy, for a consideration of 14.40 bln rupees.
** Persistent Systems: Co reports rise in consolidated net profit in third quarter, approves dividend of 28 rupees per share.