Domestic stock markets started Thursday's session on a weak note, tracking cautious trade in Asian peers amid concerns about the US-China trade war. The Sensex fell as much as 140 points in early trade to hit 35,893, while the Nifty touched 10,749, down 43 points from the previous close. The markets were dragged lower by selling witnessed in energy and IT stocks. Analysts awaited macroeconomic data due later in the day for cues.
At 9:45 am, the Sensex traded down 54 points at 35,979, while the Nifty was at 10,771, down 22 points from the previous close. Top laggards on the 50-scrip benchmark index at the time included GAIL India, Indian Oil, Bharti Infratel, Coal India, Bharti Airtel , trading between 1.5 per cent and 2 per cent lower.
Shares in other Asian markets started in a cautious mood as investors hoped for progress in the latest China-US tariff talks while bracing for China trade data that are expected to show further falls in both exports and imports.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was all but flat, having just touched peaks last seen in early October. Japan's Nikkei edged up 0.3 per cent to its highest for the year so far as a weakening yen boosted export stocks. E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 added 0.1 per cent.
There was some hope another US government shutdown would be averted as President Donald Trump edged toward backing a deal in Congress on funding for a border barrier.
The government is due to release wholesale inflation data - based on the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) - later in the day. Official data earlier this week showed consumer inflation - measured by CPI or Consumer Price Index - eased further to the lowest level recorded since June 2017.
(With agency inputs)