The S&P BSE Sensex index traded in a range of 148.14 points between 36,998.44 and 37,146.58, while the NSE Nifty moved between 11,109.20 and 11,157.95. Strength in pharma, consumer goods and select banking stocks was offset by weakness in IT, metal and media counters.
At 9:46 am, the Sensex traded 21.20 points lower at 37,069.62, while the Nifty was down 15.05 points at 11,133.15.
Twenty nine stocks on the 50-scrip index traded in the negative zone at the time. Top Nifty50 laggards were Tech Mahindra, Bajaj Auto, HCL Tech, Asian Paints, trading between 1.07 per cent and 1.63 per cent lower.
HDFC, HDFC Bank and Infosys weighed the most on Sensex.
Overall market breadth favoured declines, with 480 stocks on the BSE trading higher and 927 trading lower. On the NSE, 493 stocks advanced while 1,078 declined.
Official data showed on Monday that consumer inflation in the country picked up to 2.92 per cent in April from 2.86 per cent in the previous month, remaining below the central bank's medium-term target for the ninth month in a row.
Monday's data fuelled hopes of monetary easing by the central bank going forward.
If the Sensex and Nifty close lower on Tuesday, that would mean a tenth straight day of losses for the domestic markets.
Equities in other Asian markets extended losses following sharp falls on Wall Street overnight, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan declining 0.4 per cent to touch its lowest level since February 15. Japan's Nikkei stock index slid 1.9 per cent. US S&P 500 e-mini stock futures were flat near seven-week lows.
China announced on Monday that it would impose higher tariffs on $60 billion of US goods following Washington's decision last week to hike its own levies on $200 billion in Chinese imports.
The Sensex had shed 1976.51 points - or 5.06 per cent - in the past nine consecutive trading sessions. The Nifty gave up 606.45 points, or 5.16 per cent, during this period.