Mumbai: Carrying forward its three-day losses, the BSE benchmark index Sensex on Friday closed 12 points lower at 18,197.20 as funds and investors sold realty, metal, oil& gas and power sector stocks amid fears of more rate hikes to control a stubbornly high inflation and weak global cues.

Sensex leader Reliance Industries (RIL) fell by 1.15 per cent, contributing the most to the fall of Bombay Stock Exchange's 30-share bellwether index.  Oil and gas industry leader ONGC followed next, shedding 2.89 per cent on concerns over company's balance sheet on account of it selling fuel at lower prices to state-run oil refiners.

Sensex, which had lost 661 points in last three sessions, dropped by another 12.32 points, or 0.07 per cent to 18,197.20, after shuttling between 18,334.27 and 18,131.86 intraday.

Broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty shed 5.75 points, or 0.10 per cent to 5,482.00.

Market analysts said weak global markets following euro zone and US debt concerns along with rising interest rate worries on the domestic front pulled down the stocks on the bourses.

However, a drop in food inflation that fell to 20-month low at 7.33 per cent for the week ended July 16 from 7.58 per cent in the previous week offset the losses somewhat.

The BSE realty sector index lost the most at 2.09 per cent, followed by metal sector which shed 2 per cent. Oil and gas index closed 2.18 per cent lower and Power sector index ended 1.07 per cent lower.

However, FMCG sector index gained 0.74 per cent while Banking index was up 0.53 per cent.

(Agencies)