Mumbai: The BSE benchmark Sensex on Wednesday shed 151 points as investors sold bluechips across the board on fears of a hike in interest rates to tame inflation and lower-than-expected Q1 earnings posted by IT major Wipro despite a firm trend overseas.

The 30-share Sensex, which gained 147 points yesterday, started on a positive note before tumbling 151.49 points to 18,502.38, with almost all sectoral indices closing in red.

Broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty also fell by 46.50 points to 5,567.05, after touching the intra-day high of 5,645.40.

Brokers said the sentiment turned bearish ahead of the RBI policy meet next week on concerns that a stubbornly high inflation would push the central bank to further raise
interest rates, which would dent corporate earnings.

The mood was also dampened after IT major Wipro's first quarter earnings for this fiscal and its sales forecast for the next quarter failed to match the market expectations and influenced trading in technology sector.

Wipro stocks fell to a 3-month low, losing 3.95 per cent to Rs 398.60 a piece.

Selling selling pressure gathered momentum at mid-way and reports of a better trend in Asian region and higher opening in Europe failed to lift the investors' mood.

Power sector indice suffered the most, losing 1.73 per cent followed by healthcare index that shed 1.71 per cent. Capital goods index fell by 1.45 per cent and Auto index 1.42 per cent.

Agencies