The Sensex was down by over 164 points in early trade on the Bombay Stock Exchange today as investors booked profits and foreign funds continued to pull out their capital amid a mixed trend in global markets.

The 30-share Sensex was down by 164.20 points, or 0.90 per cent, at 18,014.13 at 1015 hours.

In a similar fashion, the broad-based National Stock Exchange Nifty index was also trading lower by 50.30 points, or 0.93 per cent, at 5,387.05 at 1015 hours.

The key benchmark indices sank in opening trade on macroeconomic worries as crude oil prices surged on concerns about supply disruptions due to the tense situation in West Asia and North Africa.

Selling was also seen as funds squared up their pending positions on the last day of current month contract expiry in the derivatives segment, marketmen said.

As per provisional figures, foreign funds sold shares worth Rs. 554.60 crore yesterday.

Asian markets were mixed in early trade, pressured by a surge in oil prices on fears that the political turmoil in Libya could spread to other oil exporters in the region and a drop in global markets.

The key indices in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan rose between 0.24 per cent and 0.93 per cent. However, the key indices in Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Indonesia fell by 0.05 per cent to 0.78 per cent.

U.S. stocks fell for the second straight session on Wednesday as the violence in Libya pushed oil prices up briefly to $ 100 a barrel and tech shares tumbled.

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