Here are 10 things to know about stock markets today:
At 11:56 am, the Sensex traded at 35,590.04, down 2.46 points or 0.01 per cent from the previous close, and the Nifty was at 10,642.75, down 9.45 points or 0.09 per cent.
Top laggards on the 50-scrip index were Indiabulls Housing Finance, Hindustan Petroleum, Bharti Infratel, JSW Steel and Kotak Mahindra Bank, trading between 2.25 and 4.03 per cent lower.
On the 30-share Sensex, Kotak Mahindra Bank, HDFC, ONGC, HDFC Bank, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and ITC were the prominent losers, trading between 0.92 and 2.10 per cent lower.
The Nifty realty, FMCG and pharma indices were trading up to 1.34 per cent lower at that time.
Globally, investors were cautious ahead of crucial trade talks between American and Chinese officials on January 30 and 31. Market is also awaiting the outcome of the US Federal Reserve's meeting later in the day.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was little changed. Japan's Nikkei was an outlier, dropping 0.5 percent on Wednesday.
"With the interim budget set to be announced this Friday; expectation of the government breaching the fiscal deficit is high in order to boost rural sector," said Hemang Jani, head-advisory, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas. The interim budget is due to be presented on February 1. "Market may take it in its stride even if the fiscal deficit target is breached by a small amount, provided that the government is able to convincingly back its actions with a push for growth-oriented policies and display its reforms orientation to be intact," Mr Jani added.
On the other hand, shares of Axis Bank surged over 6 per cent on the NSE, a day after the third largest private sector lender reported a 131 per cent rise in net income for the December quarter. ICICI Bank also rallied over 4 per cent on NSE ahead of its quarterly results, scheduled to be released later in the day.
The rupee, meanwhile, depreciated by 25 paise to 71.36 against the dollar in early trade on Wednesday.
On a net basis, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net of Rs 354.36 crore Tuesday, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) were net buyers to the tune of Rs 81.27 crore, provisional data available with the BSE showed.
(With inputs from agencies)