Mumbai: The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex on Friday fell for the third day in a row to below the 18k mark, down 155 points on profit booking amid weak global trend and concerns over steep hike in crude oil prices.

The Sensex, which had lost 350 points in the last two trading sessions, fell further by 154.93 points, or 0.86 percent to 17,923.57.

Brokers said selling pressure gathered momentum as crude oil prices climbed above USD 124 dollar, as worries mounted over Iranian supplies.

They said banking stocks declined as market expectations for a rate cut in the RBI policy meeting next month faded on widening trade deficit and reports of Citigroup selling its entire stake in HDFC.

Weak Asian markets also dampened market sentiment.

The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty lost 54 points, or 0.98 percent to 5,429.30 with stocks of capital goods, realty and banking sectors suffered the most.

The capital sector index was major loser by falling 2.96 percent to 10,560.97 followed by realty sector index by 2.28 percent to 1,928.46. Banking index fell by .95 percent to 12,068.47 and oil and gas index by 1.71 percent to 8,652.69.
Major Sensex losers were SBI, HDFC Ltd, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Reliance Industries, BHEL, Larsen and Toubro, DLF Ltd., Tata Motors and Bajaj Auto.