June 19, 2018 / 6:36 AM / 5 months ago

Indian shares fall as U.S.-China trade war escalates

* NSE index down 0.6 pct, BSE index 0.5 pct lower

* ICICI Bank falls 1.5 pct

* Nifty Pharma index on track to halt a 9-day winning run

By Vishal Sridhar

June 19 (Reuters) - Indian shares fell on Tuesday, tracking Asian peers, as global trade tensions intensified after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Trump’s move came after Beijing decided to raise tariffs on $50 billion in U.S. goods, which was in retaliation for U.S. tariffs announced on Friday.

Asia shares ex-Japan lost more than 1 percent to hit its lowest level since early February.

The broader NSE index was down 0.63 percent at 10,731.75 as of 0555 GMT, while the benchmark BSE index was 0.54 percent lower at 35,358.

“Couple of things are happening - one is the trade war; second, some sort of realignment is taking place in the mutual fund schemes. And, finally, foreign investors have turned net sellers for sometime....,” said Arun Kejriwal, founder of Kejriwal Research and Investment Services.”So, all these are causing concern even though domestic inflows continue.”

Overseas investors have sold a net $448 million in domestic shares as of Monday, after being net buyers in each of the six previous years. They had bought net $7.8 billion worth of equities in 2017.

Index heavyweights such as Reliance Industries Ltd and Infosys Ltd dropped 1.3 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.

Top oil marketing firms such as Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd , Indian Oil Corp Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd dropped over 3 percent each, the top percentage losers on the NSE index.

Shares of ICICI Bank Ltd dropped as much as 1.5 percent. The country’s third largest lender on Monday named an interim head and said Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar would go on leave till the completion of a probe over an alleged conflict of interest.

Pharma stocks also came under selling pressure, with the Nifty Pharma index on track to halt a nine-day winning run.

Reporting by Vishal Sridhar in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Gaurav Dogra; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath

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