Among the top losers on the 50-scrip Nifty were HPCL, ICICI Bank, Hindalco Industries, Yes Bank and Vedanta - trading between 1.5 per cent and 3 per cent lower. Investors also traded cautiously ahead of GDP growth data for the quarter of October-December, slated for release at 5:30 pm.
A Reuters poll forecast GDP expansion at 6.9 per cent, the fastest in 2017. If there was 6.9 per cent growth, that would top China's 6.8 per cent annual pace for October-December. The last time the economy had a faster growth rate was in the final three months of 2016.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.2 per cent, on track for a second straight day of losses. It is down more than 4 per cent in February after global equity markets were mauled at the start of the month by worries US inflation is picking up. Japan's Nikkei eased 0.2 per cent while South Korea's KOSPI index ticked higher. Australian shares slipped 0.4 per cent. (Read more)
The new US central bank chairman noted in his semi-annual testimony on Tuesday that the US economy was strong, inflation was ticking higher and that the global backdrop was better than in December.
Fears of faster US rate hikes have fed fears that other central banks will start to tighten policy and raise borrowing costs. That would in turn hurt corporate earnings, clouding the outlook for what had been expected to be another solid year of global economic growth.
(With agency inputs)