The BSE benchmark Sensex today declined by over 17 points in early trade as funds and retail investors booked profit amid weakness in other Asian bourses.
The 30-share barometer fell by 17.67 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 19,483.41, mainly led by the decline in stocks of technology, IT, FMCG and metal sectors.
The index had gained nearly 33 points in the previous session. Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty fell by 5.75 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 5,892.45.
Brokers said funds booking profits due to a weakening Asian trend mainly influenced the trading sentiment.
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 0.11 per cent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index shed 0.15 per cent in early trade today.
Stocks to watch-Feb 19
(Reuters): Nifty futures on the Singapore Exchange rose 0.08 percent. The MSCI-Asia Pacific index, excluding Japan rose 0.1 percent.
Regional stock markets held to tight ranges as the absenc of catalysts and a holiday in the U.S. overnight capped demand, while the yen remained near recent lows, as attention turned to the appointment of a new Bank of Japan governor.
U.S. markets were closed for a public holiday.
FACTORS TO WATCH
British Prime Minister David Cameron will meet Manmohan Singh in New Delhi. Debt and FX markets closed for a banking holiday.
India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday his government had nothing to hide in a $750 million deal for AgustaWestland helicopters that the defence ministry is threatening to cancel over allegations of kickbacks.
The scheduled 120-billion-rupee ($2.22 billion) bond auction, which was due to be held on Feb. 22, has been cancelled, the Indian government said in a release on Monday, citing a build-up of its cash balance with the Reserve Bank of India.
India's central bank will issue final guidelines on new bank licenses before the current fiscal year ends in March, local television news channels reported, quoting Deputy Governor Anand Sinha.
The government may offer additional incentives to exporters in the 2013/14 budget, and the Commerce Ministry has already had talks with the Finance Ministry, said a top government official, who declined to be named. ENERGY/COMMODITIES
India is now paying Iran