Indian equity benchmarks edged lower on Monday dragged by losses in index heavyweights like Infosys, HDFC Bank, Maruti Suzuki, Bajaj Finance, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Asian Paints and Mahindra & Mahindra amid weak cues from other Asian markets. Asian share markets lagged a bounce in U.S. and European futures on Monday, while bonds surrendered some of their recent gains and oil rallied as Saudi Arabia lifted its crude prices.
November's mixed U.S. jobs report did little to shake market expectations of a more aggressive tightening by the Federal Reserve, leaving a week to wait for a consumer price report that could make the case for an early tapering.
Omicron remained a concern as the variant spread to about one-third of U.S. states, though there were reports from South Africa that cases there only had mild symptoms.
Early trade was cautious as MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan inched down 0.4 per cent.
Japan's Nikkei eased 0.6 per cent, even as the government considered raising its economic growth forecast to account for a record $490 billion stimulus package.
As of 9:25 am, the Sensex was down 39 points at 57,657 and Nifty 50 index slipped 23 points to 17,174.
Selling pressure was broad-based as twelve of 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower led by the Nifty Auto index's over 1 per cent decline. Nifty Bank, Financial Services, IT, Pharma, PSU Bank Private Bank and Oil & Gas indices also fell between 0.5-1 per cent.
On the other hand, real estate, consumer durables and metal shares were witnessing buying interest.
Mid- and small-cap shares were also facing selling pressure as Nifty Midcap 100 index declined 0.32 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index fell 0.2 per cent.
IndusInd Bank was top Nifty loser, the stock fell 2.2 per cent to Rs 930. Maruti Suzuki, Bajaj Finance, Infosys, Tata Motors, HDFC Bank, HCL Technologies, NTPC, Eicher Motors, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Cipla and Indian Oil were also among the losers.
On the flipside, Hindalco, JSW Steel, Tata Steel, Larsen & Toubro, Grasim, HDFC. Adani Ports and Britannia Industries were among the gainers.
The overall market breadth was neutral as 1,463 shares were advancing while 1,351 were declining on the BSE.