Mumbai: The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex fell by nearly 24 points in opening trade on Friday, extending its losses for the third straight session on continued selling by funds and retail investors amid fears of an interest rate hike and a weakening trend in Asian markets.

The 30-share BSE index, which lost nearly 352 points in the previous two sessions, fell further by 23.69 points, or 0.15 percent, to 16,122.64 in the first few minutes of trade on Friday.

In a similar fashion, the wide-based National Stock Exchange Nifty index shed 5.10 points, or 0.11 percent, to 4,834.50.

Market experts said the trading sentiment was weak as participants anticipated another hike in key short-term interest rates by the Reserve Bank of India to rein in inflation, which inched closer to double digits at 9.80 percent for the week ended August 13, up from 9.03 percent in the previous week.

A weakening trend on other Asian bourses following overnight losses on Wall Street also cast a shadow over the domestic market, they said.

In the Asian region, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down by 0.43 percent, while Japan's Nikkei Index shed 0.07 percent in morning trade on Friday. In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 1.51 percent in Thursday's session.

(Agencies)