Indian shares were little changed on Monday, as weak global cues made investors cautious, with gains in oil marketing firms due to lower crude oil prices offset by losses in pharmaceutical and metals stocks.
Asia shares ex-Japan dropped on Monday as fears of a global trade war erupted again after U.S. President Donald Trump cranked up trade tensions by going ahead with tariffs on Chinese imports, prompting Beijing to immediately respond in kind.
The broader NSE index was down 0.1 percent at 10,806.90 as of 0601 GMT, while the benchmark BSE index was 0.09 percent lower at 35,591.23.
"We are off to a flattish start on fall in metals, profit-booking in a few pharma stocks and what has been guiding markets is the escalation in the trade war tensions," said Anand James, chief market strategist at Geojit Financial Services.
Metal stocks saw selling pressure for a seventh straight session, with the Nifty metal index skidding over 2.5 percent.
Vedanta Ltd dropped as much as 4.1 percent, the top percentage loser on both the domestic indexes.
Pharma stocks took a breather, with the Nifty pharma index down over 1 percent, on track to halt an eight-day winning streak.
Financials such as Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd and HDFC Bank Ltd fell over 1 percent each and were among the biggest drags on the NSE index.
ICICI Bank Ltd, however, jumped over 3 percent after the Economic Times reported that the country's second largest private sector lender was looking to name Sandeep Bakhshi as its interim chief executive.
Shares of top oil marketing companies such as Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd, Indian Oil Corp Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd gained over 3.5 percent each.
(Reporting by Vishal Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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