(Reuters) - Indian shares were set for a muted start on Friday, tracking a slide in U.S. equities, on data that indicated strong hiring, which could allow the Federal Reserve to keep hiking interest rates.
India's NSE stock futures listed on the Singapore exchange were down 0.02% at 18,063.50, as of 8:05 a.m. IST on Friday.
Wall Street equities closed lower overnight after data showed private employers hired more workers than expected in December, suggesting strength in the labour market. The resilience could allow the Fed to boost its target interest rate above the 5.1% peak projected earlier.
Asian markets opened higher on Friday, with the MSCI Asia ex Japan rising 0.32%.
Adding to losses in Indian equities could be the rebound in oil prices, which rose nearly 1% on lower fuel inventories in the U.S., while growth concerns capped gains.
Higher oil prices are a negative for oil-importing countries like India, where crude constitutes the bulk of the country's import bill.
Foreign institutional investors extended their selling streak for the tenth day in a row, offloading 14.49 billion rupees ($175.49 million) worth of equities on a net basis on Thursday.
Domestic investors snapped their 21-day buying streak and sold about 1.94 billion rupees ($23.50 million) worth of shares, as per provisional NSE data.
STOCKS TO WATCH
** Rail Vikas Nigam: Co's joint venture receives letter of award worth 1.66 bln rupees for Surat Metro Rail project.
** RHI Magnestia: Co receives approval from exchanges to buy refractory business of Dalmia Bharat Refractories for 17.08 bln rupees.
** IDBI Bank: SEBI allows government stake in the lender to be reclassified as public, post sale.
** Larsen & Toubro: Co's unit agrees to sell entire stake in Think Tower Developers.
** Ambuja Cements: Co incorporates a subsidiary for manufacturing of cement & allied products, alternate fuel and power generation.