Mumbai, March 19 (IANS) Key Indian equity indices on Monday slipped into the negative territory during the mid-afternoon trade session -- with the Sensex dropping over 200 points -- as heavy selling pressure was witnessed in metals, banking and oil and gas stocks.
According to market observers, negative Asian cues on the prospect of global trade wars, along with the country's widening fiscal deficit and caution ahead of the US Federal Reserve's meet on March 20-21, dented investors' risk-taking appetite.
Around 12.30 p.m., the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) fell by 78.05 points or 0.77 per cent to trade at 10,117.10 points.
The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 33,268.97 points, traded at 32,970.04 points -- down 205.96 points or 0.62 per cent from the previous session's close.
The Sensex has so far touched a high of 33,275.79 points and a low of 32,969.15 points during the intra-day trade.
The BSE market breadth was bearish with 2,122 declines and 473 advances.
"BSE Sensex and Nifty traded in negative territory for the fourth straight session, as the trade deficit widens sharply due to higher imports," said Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls.
On Friday, the benchmark indices closed lower on broad-based selling even as weak global cues continued to mar investors' sentiments.
The NSE Nifty50 declined by 165 points or 1.59 per cent to close at 10,195.15 points, while the Sensex closed at 33,176 points -- down 509.54 points or 1.51 per cent from the previous session's close.