Snapping a three-day gaining streak, the BSE benchmark Sensex today declined by over 140 points in early trade, as funds and retail investors booked profits after recent gains amid a weak trend on other Asian bourses.
The 30-share index, which had gained 174.60 points in the previous three sessions, fell back by 140.52 points, or 0.71 per cent, to 19,502.23, with metal, consumer durable, realty, power and auto sector stocks coming under pressure.
In a similar fashion, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty shed 37.15 points, or 0.62 per cent, to 5,905.90.
Brokers said besides profit-booking by participants after three sessions of gains, a weak trend on the Asian bourses led to the fall in Sensex.
They said investors were also cautious ahead of the Union Budget scheduled for this month-end.
In the Asian region, Japan's Nikkei Index was down 0.80 per cent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index shed 1.62 per cent in early trade.
The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.77 per cent lower yesterday.
Stocks to watch
GLOBAL MARKETS ROUNDUP
* Nifty futures on the Singapore Exchange down 0.56 percent. The MSCI-Asia Pacific index, excluding Japan fell 1.27 percent.
* Asian shares fell and the Australian dollar eased on Thursday as risk sentiment was shaken by talk in global markets overnight that a hedge fund had been liquidating large positions in commodities, as well as worries the Federal Reserve could slow its bond buying programme.
* US stocks fell the most in three months and a key gauge of market volatility spiked on Wednesday after minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's most recent meeting suggested the central bank may slow or stop buying bonds sooner than expected.
FACTORS TO WATCH
* The budget session of Indian parliament begins.
* India's auction of quotas allowing foreign investors to buy bonds attracted solid demand, reflecting expectations that the central bank will cut interest rates and that the government will deliver a fiscally disciplined budget. FINANCIAL/REGULATORY
* US private equity firm TPG Capital is to sell part of its stake in Indian commercial vehicle financier Shriram Transport Finance Co