The BSE Sensex fell for the fourth straight day on Thursday, losing 157 points to close at 19,292 amid rising oil prices and food inflation, as investors settled this month's positions in the derivatives segment.
After opening higher from yesterday's close, the 30-share Bombay Stock Exchange index Sensex fell 156.67 points to 19,292.02, triggered by realty, metals and capital goods. It had lost nearly 153 points in the last three trading sessions.
The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty fell 48.45 points to 5,785.45, after opening higher at 5,856.40.
Food inflation remained high at 8.76 per cent for the week ended April 16, marginally up from 8.74 per cent in the previous week, raising investor concerns that the Reserve Bank might hike key interest rates in its monetary policy review meeting on May 3.
Oil prices rallied in global markets, fanning inflation concerns. New York's contract for June rose to $113.37 a barrel, while Brent North Sea crude moved up to $125.75.
RBI has raised interest rates eight times since early 2010 to tame overall inflation, which has exceeded the its forecast of 8 per cent every month this year.
The market also witnessed selling as investors cleared their pending long positions on the last day of this month's settlement in the derivatives segment.
Besides, muted fourth quarter earnings by front-running companies have had a dampening affect on the market.
The two heavyweights, with 23 per cent weightage in the Sensex - Reliance Industries and Infosys Technologies - closed with losses. RIL lost 1.15 per cent to Rs 973.85 and Infosys by 0.75 per cent to Rs 2,931.55.
The interest sensitive realty sector index suffered the most by losing 3.03 per cent to 2,239.68, followed by metal sector index by 1.20 per cent to 16,388.21.
As the selling pressure spread over a broad-front, the midcap sector index fell 0.97 per cent to 7,168.45 and smallcap index by 0.48 per cent to 8,854.08.