Mumbai: Indian shares fell on Monday for an eighth consecutive session, marking their longest losing streak since May 2011 as Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) retreated ahead of quarterly results, while financial stocks fell after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor said inflation was “still high."

RBI governor D. Subbarao reiterated his warning ahead of the January wholesale price index data, due on Thursday, reinforcing market worries inflation remains sticky even as economic growth has sharply slowed down.

Trading was light and choppy as the Lunar New Year holiday shut most Asian financial centres, including those in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea.

Domestic shares are expected to retain their weak tone in the lead-up to the 2013-14 budget to be unveiled on 28 February, after indexes had rallied last year.

“Pre-budget party looks to be over. Sentiment is turning weak," said Vijay Kedia, director at private wealth management firm Kedia Investments. The market may drift further down, Kedia added.

The benchmark BSE index fell 0.12%, or 24.20 points, to end at 19,460.57, its lowest close since 31 December and its longest losing streak since a nine-session fall in May 2011.

The broader NSE index fell 0.1%, or 5.65 points, to end at 5,897.85, closing below the psychologically important 5,900 level, for the first time since 27 December, 2011.

The country’s new stock exchange MCX-SX started trading shares on Monday with thin volumes, taking up a steep challenge to build liquidity and win market share against dominant player National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the smaller and older Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

At Monday’s close, the value of shares traded on the MCX-SX was Rs6.9 million ($128,900), its website showed, compared to Rs9457 crore on the NSE.

ONGC fell 1.7% ahead of its October-December quarter earnings later in the day.

ICICI Bank fell 0.7% while Housing Development Finance Corp (HDFC) ended 1.1% lower.

BGR Energy Systems Ltd fell 2.7% to a one-year low after margins missed estimates and as high interest costs resulted in a 24.3% fall in December quarter net profit.

Cadila Healthcare ended 6.2% lower after earlier falling as much as 8.9% as October-December earnings disappointed on Friday. Credit Suisse also downgraded the stock to “neutral" from “outperform", citing delay in contribution from higher margin products.

However, shares of MMTC Ltd gained 19% while Hindustan Copper Ltd rose 10.65% on hopes of good demand in the upcoming stake sales by the government.

NTPC Ltd and Oil India Ltd’s share sale attracted good response from investors.

Hexaware Technologies gained 3.13% after it guided for “double-digit" revenue growth in 2013 with 150-200 bps sequential margin expansion in the first quarter. Reuters