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Markets off early highs; metals, energy stocks under pressure on global inflation woes

Markets gave up early gains to trade lower on Thursday, as losses in metal and energy stocks outweighed gains in financial counters, while persistent concerns over global inflation also weighed on investor sentiment.

The Nifty was down 0.36% at around 15,970 in early trade, while Sensex fell 0.18% to around 53,650.

"Overall sentiment in the domestic market has been down because of constant foreign fund outflows and inflationary pressures. It's difficult to see an upside for markets from here," said Samrat Dasgupta, chief executive officer at Esquire Capital Investment Advisors.

Foreign investors have sold a net $4.79 billion worth of Indian equities so far this month, compared with $1.79 billion worth net offload in the same period last month, Refinitiv data showed.

"Inflation is a concern globally and the Fed is saying that they won't hesitate to raise rates to keep it down. But the market will be watching the numbers till they start easing out and until then, there will always be this overhang," Dasgupta said.

Sub-indices Nifty Metal and Nifty Energy fell more than 2% each.

Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) dropped as much as 4% in its fourth straight session of losses and was among the top losers on the Nifty, after the company late on Wednesday an 82.1% plunge in its March-quarter net profit.

Aluminium and copper producer Hindalco Industries reversed early gains to trade 0.5% lower, ahead of its quarterly earnings results.

Lending some support to the Nifty 50, financials, banks, and private sector lenders gained between 0.2% and 0.3%.

The Nifty IT index gave up early gains to trade little changed. It had slumped to its lowest since last June in the previous session.

Broader Asian shares were trading lower, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 0.48%.

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