Rising for the third day in a row, the rupee gained 8 paise to 53.72 against the American currency in early trade on Thursday at the Interbank Foreign Exchange on sustained dollar selling by exporters.

Increased foreign funds inflow also supported the local unit. However, a lower opening in the equity market restricted the gains, forex dealers said.

Meanwhile, the BSE benchmark index Sensex fell by 43.58 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 18,461.80.

The rupee had edged up by 18 paise to close at 53.80 against the dollar in the previous session on sustained dollar sales by exporters.

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