Indian shares began the week on a tepid note on Monday, dragged by metal stocks due to demand worries and weaker sentiment in global markets. The NSE Nifty 50 index was down 0.3 per cent at 15,704, while the S&P BSE Sensex was unchanged at 52,930.86. The indexes rose about 0.3 per cent each last week.

The Nifty metals index fell 1.2 per cent as iron ore and steel prices tumbled on fears of a slump in demand for commodities. The government's move to introduce export duties for gasoil, gasoline and jet fuel to help maintain domestic supplies, and impose a windfall tax on oil producers on Friday also had an overhang on Indian markets.

Meanwhile, Asian share markets started cautiously on Monday as a run of soft US data suggested downside risks for this week's June payrolls report, while the hubbub over possible recession was still driving a relief rally in government bonds. Markets in the US are closed for a holiday on Monday. Among individual shares, supermarket chain operator Avenue Supermarts rose 4.2 per cent after the company reported strong sales for the first quarter on Saturday.

BSE benchmark

The BSE benchmark index Sensex climbed nearly 160 points in early trade on Monday, tracking gains in index majors RIL, ICICI Bank and ITC amid a mixed trend in global markets. The BSE benchmark was trading with a gain of 159.56 points at 53,067.49 in early trade. The NSE Nifty also went higher by 45.4 points to 15,797.45.

However, the indices failed to hold on to the gains and turned volatile in the morning trade. Among the Sensex pack, IndusInd Bank, ITC, Reliance Industries, Sun Pharma, ICICI Bank, Nestle, Hindustan Unilever and Maruti were among the gainers in early trade.

Tata Steel, TCS, Mahindra & Mahindra, Wipro, Infosys, Tech Mahindra and HDFC were among the laggards. Elsewhere in Asia, markets in Tokyo and Shanghai were trading in the green, while Seoul and Hong Kong quoted lower. The US markets ended with gains on Friday.

"Investors should exercise caution because global trends, crude oil movement, and FII activities may have an impact on market volatility," Mohit Nigam, Head-PMS, Hem Securities.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude dipped 0.13 per cent to 1$11 per barrel. Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net sellers in the capital market, as they sold shares worth ₹2,324.74 crore on Friday, as per exchange data.