he Sensex on Monday ended 18 points lower amid cautious trading over the U.S. ‘fiscal cliff’ talks in the last trading day of 2012, which saw the BSE benchmark rise by 26 per cent — the best annual gain since 2009.

After a better start, the 30-share index moved between 19491.08 and 19406.17, before ending with a moderate loss of 18.13 points at 19426.71.

Brokers said Indian markets ended on a weak note as investors cut positions amid U.S. lawmakers still trying to reach a pact to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff’ of over $ 600 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes set to start from Tuesday.

In 30-share BSE index, 17 stocks gained, while 13 closed with losses.

The Nifty rose by 1280.80 points or 27.70 per cent in 2012.

Rupee down 22 paise

The rupee on Monday lost 22 paise to close at one-week low of 54.99 against the dollar due to month-end demand for the U.S. currency from importers.

Forex dealers said a firm dollar overseas also weighed on the rupee. — PTI

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