Mumbai, Jan 28 (Agencies): Investor confidence kept dipping on a raft of negative factors like rising inflation and RBI’s interest rate hike leading to continued sell-off in stock markets, pulling down the BSE benchmark Sensex by another 289 points to a 5-month low of 18,395.97 on Friday.

RBI’s raising of interest rates to tame inflation directly hit sensitive stocks which bore the brunt of heavy selling.

Marketmen said investors are afraid that bank interest rates may be hiked too -- denting corporate performance and making consumer spending sluggish -- after food inflation moved up again to 15.57 per cent for the week ended January 15.

Realty, consumer durables, auto, capital goods, power and metal segments performed the worst. All sector indices ended downwards, between 4.96 per cent and 0.37 per cent.

The BSE-Realty index was the top loser with a fall of 4.96 per cent, after having lost 3.57 per cent on Thursday.

HDIL plunged 10.06 pc, DLF - 7.02 pc, Ackruti City - 6.56 pc, Orbit - 5.91 pc, D B Realty - 5.91 pc and Unitech by 4.40 per cent.

Besides, capital inflows from Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) slowed down as they sold shares worth Rs 1,397.40 crore on Thursday, as per SEBI. They have pulled out Rs 4,220.80 in this month, till January 27.

Lack of any major trigger from global stock markets too dampened the market sentiment.

The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share barometer index, Sensex, which touched a high of 18,723.12 intra-day, dropped to a low of 18,235.45, before recovering on short-covering t0 settle at 18,395.97 -- a fall of 288.46 points or 1.54 pct from the yesterday's close.