Indian shares were off to a muted start on Thursday, on fragile investor sentiment globally after Credit Suisse, one of Europe's top lenders, added to worries about a crisis in the financial sector.

The Nifty 50 index was down 0.44 per cent at 16,985.90, while the S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.42 per cent to 57,311.13 as of 9:35 a.m..

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Eight of the 13 major sectoral indexes logged losses, with high weightage financials falling 0.2 per cent and information technology stocks losing 0.6 per cent. Metals index fell over 2 per cent and was the top sectoral loser.

The Nifty 50 has fallen 4.4 per cent in the past five sessions, while the Nifty financials index has slid 5.3 per cent.

The broad-based slide comes after weakness in global markets, on risks of contagion in the global financial sector, after Credit Suisse's biggest shareholder said it could not provide the Swiss Bank with more funding.

Credit Suisse stock plunged as much as 30 per cent to a record low overnight. However, by the end of the day, Switzerland's central bank had pledged to fund the company.

The weakness in sentiment gripped Asian markets. The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan were down 1.02 per cent.

Among individual stocks, Patanjali lost nearly 5 per cent after exchanges froze certain promoters and promoter group of companies' shares.

Titan jumped nearly 2 per cent and was among the top Nifty 50 gainers after global brokerage firm JP Morgan maintained "overweight" on the company and termed it the preferred discretionary play.