Mumbai: The BSE benchmark Sensex fell by almost 200 points in opening trade on Thursday, dragged down by financial stocks amid fears of an RBI rate hike and profit-booking of gains recorded in the previous session.

The 30-share Sensex, which had gained 337.05 points in the previous session, fell by 199.99 points, or 1.17 percent, to 16,885.35 in opening trade on Thursday.

In a similar fashion, the wide-based National Stock Exchange Nifty Index shed 53.15 points, or 1.03 percent, to 5,086.00.

Brokers said apart from profit-booking by participants after Wednesday's gains, expectations that the Reserve Bank of India may announce another hike in interest rates at its quarterly policy review on October 25 and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement that the global slowdown will impact the country's growth prospects had a negative impact on the trading sentiment.

Meanwhile, in the Asia region, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 0.61 percent, while Japan's Nikkei shed 0.80 percent in morning trade on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average in the US closed 0.63 percent lower on Wednesday.

(Agencies)