Mumbai, April 25 (IANS) Depressed by negative Asian markets, along with unwinding of long positions, key indices of the Indian equity markets traded in the red during the mid-afternoon trade session on Monday.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was lower by 58.80 points or 0.74 percent, at 7,840.50 points.

The barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 25,891.03 points, traded at 25,640.87 points (at 1.45 p.m.) -- down 197.27 points, or 0.76 percent, from the previous close at 25,838.14 points.

The Sensex has so far touched a high of 25,891.03 points and a low of 25,605.34 points during the intra-day trade.

The BSE market breadth was heavily tilted in favour of the bears -- with 1,527 declines and 929 advances.

Both the key Indian indices had ended on a flat-to-negative note during the previous trade session on April 22. The barometer index had closed lower by 74 points or 0.29 percent, while the NSE Nifty slipped by 24 points or 0.30 percent.

Initially on Monday, the key indices opened on a flat note as they were dragged lower by negative Asian markets and a weak close of the US exchanges on Friday.

Besides, investors were seen cautious ahead of the US FOMC (US federal open market committee) meet slated for April 27-28.

The US FOMC meet assumes significance as it will decide the future course of the US interest rates. A hike in interest rates is expected to lead away Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) from emerging markets such as India.

In addition, weak crude oil prices and upcoming monetary policy review by the Bank of Japan (BoJ) dented sentiments.

Investors were seen reluctant to chase prices ahead of the futures and options (F&O) expiry and release of key quarterly results.

"Profit booking and unwinding of long positions continued. The lack of value buying and bargain hunting allowed prices to slip," Anand James, chief market strategist, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services, told IANS.

"Caution prevailed ahead of several events like the FOMC meet, derivative expiry and BoJ's monetary policy review. Negative global cues dampened sentiments."

According to Nitasha Shankar, senior vice president for research with YES Securities, bank index witnessed slight profit booking after recent outperformance which led the headline index lower.

"Broader markets traded in the red in line with the headline indices. All major sectorial indices were in the red barring the IT (information technology) index," Shankar noted.