The Sensex on Monday erased initial gains and closed 79 points lower on heavy selling in HUL, ITC and HDFC, amid a weak global trend.

The BSE benchmark index, which had surged to 14-month high in the previous session, climbed 58.30 points at the outset but failed to sustain the momentum. It finally ended at 18,673.34, down 79.49 points, or 0.42 per cent.

Out of the 30-share Sensex, 17 stocks led by HUL (3.05 pc), ITC (2.41 pc), HDFC (2.23 pc) and Cipla (1.83 pc) fell.

The downside was capped to a certain extent by some gains in BHEL, M&M, HDFC Bank, Jindal Steel and ICICI Bank.

Brokers said markets fell as investors booked profits at these higher levels amid rating agency Standard and Poor’s cutting the growth forecast for India to 5.5 per cent for this fiscal from 6.5 per cent projected earlier.

The sentiment turned weaker as overseas markets also fell.

The rupee was last trading at 53.27 a US dollar compared with its previous close of 53.45.

In the overall market, nearly 1,700 stocks fell while around 1,200 scrips ended higher.

The 50-share NSE index Nifty fell by 21.55 points, or 0.38 per cent to 5,669.60, after crossing 5,700 level in the morning session.

In BSE, the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) index was major loser as it fell by 1.48 per cent. Oil & gas index lost 1.43 per cent with ONGC and RIL shares shedding value.

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