Indian shares edged lower in a volatile session on Thursday with financial stocks continuing their downtrend while fertilizer stocks gained after the continuation of a government subsidy for urea.
Banking shares were subdued with revelations of yet another fraud at Punjab National Bank compounding the already-gloomy sentiment on public-sector lenders.
Stock markets across Asia slipped broadly in tandem with Wall Street, which fell for a third session overnight after U.S. President Donald Trump sought to impose fresh tariffs on China, intensifying fears of a trade war. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.45 percent.
"Markets are struggling to find their foothold, and this sideways trend is expected to continue this month... There is also some sort of portfolio shuffling," said Deven Choksey, founder, KR Choksey Investment Managers.
The broader NSE Nifty was down 0.31 percent at 10,378.95 as of 0600 GMT.
The benchmark BSE Sensex was 0.29 percent lower at 33,737.52.
Banking stocks continued to drop, with Yes Bank and ICICI Bank Ltd falling over 1 percent each. Their public-sector peers followed with Punjab National Bank down 0.7 percent while Bank of Baroda fell 1.2 percent and Union Bank of India traded 1.5 percent lower.
Fertilizer stocks rose after the Indian government decided to continue a urea subsidy scheme till 2020 and implemented the direct benefit transfer scheme. National Fertilizers Ltd, Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd and Madras Fertilizers Ltd gained about 4-6 percent.
IT major Wipro Ltd rose as much as 2.8 percent after the company said on Wednesday it would divest its hosted data centre services business to Ensono.