Mumbai: The BSE Sensex on Wednesday fell for the third straight day, losing about 97 points to close at over 19,448, on sustained selling following lower-than-expected earnings and sales forecast by IT major Wipro.

Brokers said that Goldman Sachs cut RIL stock to "neutral" from "buy" pulled down its scrip, which has the heaviest weightage in the 30-share Sensex.

They added that investors also booked profits ahead of monthly settlement tomorrow in the derivatives segment.

Selling was seen in realty, capital goods and metal stocks in view of increased capital outflows, extending losses for the third straight day.

RIL continued downslide for the third day in a row and was the major contributer to the Sensex fall. The scrip ended lower by 1.56 per cent today.

The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share barometer started on a firm note and immediately touched a high of 19,633.63, but selling after mid-session pulled it down to 19,448.69, a fall
of 96.66 points or 0.49 per cent.

The NSE 50-issue Nifty also declined by 34.50 points or 0.59 per cent to close at 5,833.90.

Brokers attributed two-way movements in share values to rolling over of positions ahead of the expiry of derivatives contract tomorrow.

Besides RIL, fall in other index heavyweights like ICICI Bank, L&T, BHEL, SBI, Wipro and Tata Motors weighed down the market sentiment.

However, rise in ONGC, ITC, Infosys Tech, M&M and Bharti Airtel mitigated the Sensex fall.

FIIs pulled out a total Rs 1,824.43 crore on April 25 and 26, as per Sebi data. Bonanza Portfolio Senior Research Analyst (Equity) Shanu Goel said, "IT stocks were under pressure on weak FY'12 guidance from Wipro."

Meanwhile, global markets displayed a mixed trend with upward bias.

Agencies