Mumbai: The Bombay Stock Exchange index on Friday dipped over 118 points to 18,376.48 on heavy selling in heavy-weight Reliance Industries (RIL), even as a rise in Reliance Anil Ambani led group stocks capped its losses.

The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex, which opened higher at 18,672.65 before noon, trailed RIL losses which fell 1.65 per cent to Rs 936.15 a piece on Friday.

The company stock, which had gained 1.8 per cent till noon, dived after Mukesh Ambani, RIL chairman and managing director, failed to share the company plans on stemming the
decline in natural-gas output.

Worried investors indulged in panic selling that pushed the Sensex, which had declined 114.63 points in the previous session, further into 117.70 points loss at 18,376.48.

Broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty, too, fell by 33.60 points to 5,516.75. It had lost 41.65 points on Thursday.

Slide in Asian markets was another dampner as regional stocks closed in red amid signs of a slow-down in economic recovery in the US after the government data showed a higher- than- expected unemployment levels last week.

However, the surge in Reliance Anil Ambani group of companies led by Reliance Communications-- the second-largest mobile operator in the country-- cushioned the fall after a court rejected a PIL for a probe against group head Anil Ambani and Ratan Tata of Tata Group.

Reliance Communication shot up by 3.95 per cent to Rs 93.40, Reliance Infra by 0.85 per cent to Rs 557.30, Reliance Power by 1.97 per cent to Rs 119 and Reliance Capital by 2.62
per cent to Rs 524.65.

Foreign funds were another saviour; they bought a net Rs 6.9 billion of Indian equities, turning them into net buyers of Rs 490 million this year.

Among sectors, the oil and gas sector index suffered the most, losing 1.34 per cent to 9,467.84 followed by metal index by 1.05 per cent to 15,082.61 as stocks fell following reports of weakening trend in base metal prices in global markets.

Agencies