Key benchmarks were hovering near flat line in early afternoon trade. At 12:22 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, was up 23.46 points or 0.06% at 37,436.59. The Nifty 50 index was up 2.20 points or 0.02% at 11,289.70.
The market breadth, indicating the overall health of the market, was weak. On BSE, 801 shares rose and 1599 shares fell. A total of 117 shares were unchanged.
Telecom tower infrastructure provider Bharti Infratel was down 2.1%.
Overseas, Asian stocks fell on Wednesday, as investor confidence was chilled by the latest round of verbal threats in an intensifying US-China trade conflict. China will seek permission from the World Trade Organization (WTO) to impose sanctions on the US next week, according to the WTO's meeting agenda. China will seek authorization at a special meeting of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body on Friday, 21 September 2018.
The request comes at a time of escalating trade tensions between the world's two largest economies, with US President Donald Trump saying last week he was "ready to go" on tariffs for another $267 billion on Chinese goods "if he wants." That would follow planned charges on $200 billion of Chinese goods in several industries, including technology. Beijing has vowed to retaliate if the US takes any new steps on trade.
US stocks shrugged off a wobbly start to close higher Tuesday, with the Dow climbing by triple digits, as energy and telecommunications rallied. However, trade worries were simmering below the surface as investors continued to watch the situation between the US and China.
On the data front, small-business sentiment climbed to a record in August, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. Separately, the number of job openings in the US climbed to a record 6.94 million in July while the US budget deficit in August was $211 billion, nearly double the gap during the year-ago period.
Meanwhile, the US budget deficit in August was $211 billion, nearly double the gap during the year-ago month, the Congressional Budget Office estimated late Monday.
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