Later, on profit selling in banking and auto shares, it pulled the market lower in mid-morning trade. Fall in Asian stocks also weighed on the sentiments. Oil &gas and FMCG shares held firm. Maruti Suzuki was the biggest loser from the Sensex pack. The market breadth turned negative from positive breadth earlier in the day, a leading broker said.
India's infrastructure sector output grew 3.4 per cent in June 2008 from a year earlier, slightly below 3.5 pc annual growth in May 2008, according to a government data released here. The infrastructure sector accounts for 26.68 pc of India's industrial output. The government will also release industrial production data for June 2008 after the noon.
The BSE 30-share Sensex was down 159.96 points, or 1.03 pc, to 15,343.96 at mid-morning session. At the day's low of 15,271.90, the Sensex lost 232.02 in mid-morning trade. The index rose 75.86 points to day's high of 15,579.78 at the onset of trading session.
The S&P CNX Nifty index of National Stock Exchange was down 29.45 points, or 0.64 pc, to 4,590.95 during the same period.
Auto shares slipped too. India's largest passenger vehicles maker by sales, Maruti Suzuki, fell 4.47 pc at Rs 683.50. Ashok Leyland (down 2.67 pc at Rs 32.75), Tata Motors (down 2.39 pc at Rs 436.50), and Mahindra&Mahindra (down 0.99 pc at Rs 584.30), declined. The BSE Auto index was down 1.35 pc at 4,002.53.
Banking shares tumbled too. The BSE Bankex was down 1.76 pc at 7,567.17. Union Bank was down 2.83 pc at Rs 149.50 followed by Punjab National Bank by 3.05 pc at Rs 501, Canara Bank by 2.11 pc at Rs 227 and HDFC Bank by 1.96 pc at Rs 1283, brokers added.
In the Asian markets, most of indices slipped into the red after a rousing start. Key benchmark indices in China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were down by between 0.08 pc to 1.07 pc. However, key indices in Hong Kong and Singapore were up 0.48 pc to 1.73 pc.