MUMBAI (Reuters) - The BSE Sensex was down 0.8 percent lower in choppy trade on Wednesday, mirroring Asian peers, as investors refrained from taking fresh bets amid an uncertain global economic environment.
Software services firms led the fall, with India's No. 1 outsourcer Tata Consultancy Services losing 1.5 percent, while smaller rival Infosys shed 0.85 percent, on glum global economic outlook.
Metal makers bucked the trend on higher global metal prices, with aluminium maker Hindalco rising as much as 2.16 percent.
At 01:15 p.m. (0745 GMT), the main 30-share BSE index was down 0.81 percent at 16364.22 points, with 25 of its components in the negative territory. The index had gained as much as 0.2 percent earlier.
"There are too many variables.... I would rather wait for some clarity to emerge before taking any (market) call," said Vaibhav Sanghavi, director at Ambit Capital.
Last week, the index logged its fourth straight weekly loss, its longest such streak since Lehman Brothers ' collapse in September 2008.
CLSA on Wednesday cut its 12-month target for the BSE Sensex to 18,200 points from 19,500 points as the research house prefers to stay cautious on the markets until it sees some evidence of investment demand picking up.
Foreign funds have sold Indian stocks worth about $1.9 billion so far in August, after having purchased $1.7 billion in July.
Earlier in the day Asian shares slid after Moody's cut its rating on Japan 's government debt by one notch to Aa3, but European stocks are seen opening higher on speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve would announce another round of quantitative easing.
The speculation is widespread in financial markets that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will use his speech on Friday at a central banker conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to signal a new monetary offensive to support the faltering U.S. economy.
Apart from metal makers, real estate developers were also up a tad, while all other sector indexes were down, led by IT firms and lenders.
Tata Power, one of the largest private utility, was the top loser among index stocks on the NSE, after Citi cut its target price to 1,290 from 1,462 rupees citing higher input cost at one of its mega power project.
The 50-share NSE index was trading 0.75 percent higher at 4,911.5 points.
In the broader market, 742 advancers outnumbered 632 decliners on a volume of 336.37 million shares.
Japan 's Nikkei share average ended down 1.07 percent on Wednesday, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.87 percent.
STOCKS ON THE MOVE
* The top power equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals fell 0.9 percent after HSBC cut its target price to 1,590 rupees from 1,850 rupees, while retaining its 'underweight' rating.
* Shares in Aventis Pharma, a unit of France's Sanofi, rose over 7 percent after the company said it will acquire Universal Medicare's nutraceuticals formulations business in India.
(Reporting by Ketan Bondre; editing by Malini Menon)