Domestic stock markets started Thursday's session on a lower note, ahead of the release of the central bank's second bi-monthly policy statement. The S&P BSE Sensex fell as much as 153.55 points to 39,929.99, and the NSE Nifty index declined to 11,954.95, down 66.7 points from the previous close. Weakness in financial and energy stocks dragged the markets lower. Analysts say investors turned cautious ahead of the Reserve Bank of India's policy statement. (Also read: What to expect from Shaktikanta Das-led Monetary Policy Committee today)
At 10:58 am, the Sensex traded 132.73 points - or 0.33 per cent - lower at 39,950.81 while the Nifty was down 55.70 points - or 0.46 per cent - at 11,965.95.
Top laggards on the 50-scrip benchmark index at the time were GAIL, Indiabulls Housing Finance, Grasim, Yes Bank and Ultracemco, trading with losses of between 2.69 per cent and 9.30 per cent.
Reliance Industries, Larsen & Toubro and SBI weighed the most on the Sensex.
Many analysts expect the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to reduce the repo rate - the key interest rate at which commercial banks borrow short-term funds from it - today after conclusion of the Monetary Policy Committee's three-day meeting. The RBI is due to release the policy statement at 11:45 am.
Equities in other Asian markets got off to a hesitant start with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipping 0.01 per cent in sparse early trade. Investors feared a looming US trade war with Mexico would further depress global growth, even as they wagered central banks would have to respond with fresh stimulus.
Japan's Nikkei dithered either side of flat, while E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 eased 0.1 per cent.
Overnight in the US, the Dow ended 0.82 per cent higher, while the S&P 500 gained 0.82 per cent and the Nasdaq 0.64 per cent.
The Sensex and Nifty had finished 0.46 per cent and 0.55 per cent lower on Tuesday. The domestic financial markets remained shut on Wednesday for Eid ul Fitr.
(With inputs from Reuters)
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