Domestic stock markets started Friday's session on a lacklustre note amid weakness across Asian equities, a day after the Reserve Bank of India maintained policy rates at existing levels citing high inflation. The S&P BSE Sensex index declined as much as 0.63 per cent - or 238.07 points - to 37,787.38 in the first few minutes of trade, after opening down 74.38 points (0.20 per cent) at 37,951.07. The broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark dropped to as low as 11,142.05, down 58.1 points (0.52 per cent) from its previous close, having started the session down 13.50 points at 11,186.65.
Losses in banking and financial services stocks pulled the markets lower, however gains in energy and metal shares limited the fall.
At 9:31 am, the Sensex traded 162.11 points - or 0.43 per cent - lower at 37,863.34, while the Nifty was down 37.30 points - or 0.33 per cent - at 11,162.85.
HCL Tech, HDFC Bank, Infosys, Hero MotoCorp and ICICI Bank, trading between 1.11 per cent and 163 per cent lower, were the worst hit among the 26 losers in the 50-scrip Nifty basket.
On the other hand, UPL, GAIL, Dr Reddy's, HDFC Life and Bharat Petrolem, up between 0.88 per cent and 2.17 per cent each, were the top Nifty gainers.
The RBI on Thursday kept key interest rates on hold as it sought to contain a rise in retail inflation, but vowed to keep policy sufficiently loose to help revive growth in the coronavirus-battered economy. Governor Shaktikanta Das said space for monetary policy easing remains, but the central bank will ensure inflation stays within its target range.
The repo rate was left at 4.0 per cent and the reverse repo rate at 3.35 per cent, missing expectations of most analysts, who had expected a rate cut.
Equities in other Asian markets fell amid concerns about rising COVID-19 cases, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan last seen trading 1.69 per cent lower.
Japan's Nikkei 225 and China's Shanghai Composite benchmarks were down 0.85 per cent and 1.45 per cent at the time. While Hong Kong's Hang Seng barometer was down 2.36 per cent, South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.30 per cent.
The E-Mini S&P 500 futures traded 0.50 per cent lower, indicating a negative start for US markets on Friday, a day after the benchmark S$P 500 index closed 0.64 per cent higher and the technology stocks-heavy Nasdaq Composite gauge settled up 1 per cent. (Also Read: Facebook Shares Surge Over 6%)