Mumbai: The BSE benchmark Sensex on Thursday fell 148 points on fresh selling in blue-chips, especially interest sensitive stocks, as food inflation jumped over double-digit and sparked fears of rate hikes amid weak markets globally.
    
The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share Sensex, which had gained 337 points on Wednesday, fell 148.45 points to 16,936.89, after touching a low of 16,744.99.
    
The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty lost 47.25 points to 5,091.90. It touched an intra-day low of 5,033.95.
    
Trading sentiment dampened as food inflation rose to 10.60 percent for the week ending October 8, compared to 9.32 percent in the previous week, raising concerns of further interest rate hike by the Reserve Bank in its policy review on Tuesday.
    
RBI has raised borrowing rates a dozen times since March 2010 to tame inflation, crimping corporate earnings.
    
A lower closing in the Asian region and weak openings in Europe further influenced the market sentiment. The European stocks fell as splits emerged among the region’s leaders on a plan to end the euro-zone debt crisis.
    
Investors also reduced their pending positions as the monthly derivatives contracts expiry was brought forward by two days to October 25 due to Diwali holidays.
    
The realty sector index suffered the most, down 2.04 percent at 1,808.52. Auto index lost 1.50 percent to 8,865.49.     

The Banking sector index fell 0.86 per cent to 11,169.27 as private lender ICICI Bank fell 2.89 percent and HDFC bank by 0.33 percent.
    
In all, 22 of the 30 Sensex stocks closed with losses, while eight ended in the green.

(Agencies)