The Indian equity benchmarks staged a lower opening on Wednesday, taking cues from the global markets. Asian stocks slipped as investors feared aggressive monetary tightening by the U.S. Federal Reserve to fight inflation. The focus was also on new Western sanctions against Russia over its Ukraine invasion.
Trends on the Nifty Futures on Singapore Exchange (SGX Nifty) also indicated a gap-down start for the domestic indices.
The 30-share BSE Sensex slipped 473 points or 0.79 per cent to 59,704 in early trade, while the broader NSE Nifty moved 126 points or 0.70 per cent down to 17,832.
Mid- and small-cap shares were trading on a negative note as Nifty Midcap 100 moved 0.35 down and small-cap shares shed 0.33 per cent.
14 out of the 15 sector gauges -- compiled by the National Stock Exchange -- were trading in the red. Nifty Bank and Nifty Financial Services were underperforming the index by falling as much as 1.16 per cent, respectively. Kotak Mahindra Bank, Tech Mahindra and Bajaj Auto were also among the laggards.
However, the overall market breadth stood strong as 1,503 shares were advancing while 921 were declining on BSE.
On the 30-share BSE index, HDFC twins, Kotak Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, M&M, Wipro and Tech Mahindra were among the top losers.
In contrast, Tata Steel, UltraTech Cement, NTPC, L&T, PowerGrid and Sun Pharma were trading in the green.
Sensex had slipped 435 points or 0.72 per cent to close at 60,177 on Tuesday, while Nifty had moved 96 points or 0.53 per cent lower to settle at 17,957.