(Alliance News) - London's FTSE 100 is called to open lower on Middle East conflict escalation worry, though oil was on the up.

IG says futures indicate the FTSE 100 to open 75.3 points lower, 1.0%, at 7,801.75 on Friday. The index of London large-caps closed up 29.06 points, 0.4%, at 7,877.05 on Thursday.

Iran's state media reported explosions in the central province of Isfahan Friday, as US media quoted officials saying Israel had carried out retaliatory strikes on its arch-rival.

Air defence systems over several Iranian cities were activated, state media reported, after the country's official broadcaster said explosions were heard near the city of Isfahan.

Israel had previously warned it would hit back after Iran fired hundreds of missiles and drones at Israel over the weekend. Most of them were intercepted.

A barrel of Brent oil surged to USD88.70 early Friday, from USD87.15 at the European equities close on Thursday.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 was 2.6% lower in late trade. The Shanghai Composite in China was down 0.4%, while the Hang Seng was 1.4% lower. The S&P/ASX 200 was down 1.1% in late dealings in Sydney.

In New York on Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1%, the S&P 500 fell 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.5%.

Netflix fell 4.9% in after hours dealings. The streaming service reported bumper growth in new subscribers in the first quarter, alongside better-than-expected results, but predicted a slowdown in the second three months of the year.

In the three months to March 31, revenue rose 15% to USD9.37 billion, from USD8.16 billion a year prior.

Net income jumped 78% to USD2.33 billion from USD1.31 billion, while diluted earnings per share improved to USD5.28, up 83% from USD2.88.

"The problem with the earnings report was the Q2 forecast. Netflix has estimated that revenue would come in at USD9.49 billion, slightly lower than the USD9.51 billion the market had expected. This is a small discrepancy and back at the start of the year this could have easily been ignored or brushed over. Now, there is too much focus on valuations, profitability and the ability to grow revenues in an uncertain environment for the market to ignore a revenue forecast miss," XTB analyst Kathleen Brooks commented.

Against the dollar, sterling fell to USD1.2416 early Friday, from USD1.2464 at the time of the London equities close on Thursday. The euro fell to USD1.0632 from USD1.0660. Against the yen, the buck bought JPY154.37, down from JPY154.60.

Gold traded at USD2,381.75 an ounce, down from USD2,384.41.

In the local corporate calendar, hedge fund manager Man Group releases a trading statement.

By Eric Cunha, Alliance News news editor

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