Domestic stock markets started Thursday's session on a lower note amid a selloff in automobile stocks. The S&P BSE Sensex fell as much as 148.56 points to 38,882.99, and the NSE Nifty moved to 11,699.55, down 48.6 points from the previous close. At 9:39 am, the Sensex traded 53.23 points lower at 38,978.32 while the Nifty was down 21.30 points at 11,726.85. Top laggards on the 50-scrip index at the time were Tata Motors, Eicher Motors, Hindalco Industries and Maruti Suzuki India, trading between 1.45 per cent and 2.12 per cent lower.
The National Stock Exchange's Nifty Auto index - comprising automobile stocks - fell as much as 1.64 per cent in morning deals.
Maruti Suzuki India shares declined as much as 2.12 per cent on the National Stock Exchange, a day after the carmaker reported a 17.19 per cent decline in April sales. Maruti Suzuki India had last week lowered its sales growth forecast for the current financial year amid an industry-wide weakening of demand.
Equities in other Asian markets marked time with two major centres - Japan and China - shut for holidays. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was off 0.1 per cent, trading in a tight band. Trading in Japan will resume next Tuesday while China will be back in action on Monday.
The Federal Reserve kept key interest rates on hold overnight as the US central bank said it sees no strong case for moving in either direction.
(With inputs from Reuters)