Mumbai: A year-end slide continued for the third straight day in the stock market on Thursday and the barometer Sensex slumped by 184 points amid heavy sell-off in market leader Reliance Industries and some blue-chip banking stocks.

Amid concerns about rising bad loans, banking giants like ICICI Bank, SBI and HDFC Bank lost ground on the bourses.

At the same time, the stocks from other segments also witnessed heavy sell-off on concerns that the companies might post weak quarterly profits next month due to a depreciating rupee, high interest costs and soaring input prices.

The BSE's 30-share benchmark index fell 183.92 points or 1.2 percent to close at 15,543.93 points -- its lowest closing level in more than a week or since December 20.

The NSE's 50-share Nifty index fell 1.3 percent or 59.55 points to close at 4,646.25.

The markets also shrugged off the news that food inflation has fallen to as low as 0.42 percent, the lowest in about six years -- a development that might help the RBI to start lowering interest rates after numerous hikes this year.

A high interest rate regime has been one of the major concerns for the market in 2012, during which the Sensex has already fallen by about 4,700 points or about 24 percent, and just one day of trading is left now for the year.

The Sensex has fallen by over 400 points in the past three trading sessions alone, while the current month has also been especially bad for the stocks.

December has traditionally been a strong month for the market and year-end rallies have been witnessed historically during this period.

However, the markets have been mostly trading with a downward bias so far this month, during which the Sensex has lost ground during 13 trading sessions and has gained value on seven days only.

(Agencies)