The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex on Thursday erased initial gains and ended lower by nearly 26 points as investors adopted cautious approach ahead of third quarter corporate results that commence next week and booked profits amid weak overseas trend.

The BSE 30-share index, which lost 57 points yesterday, fell further by 25.56 points, or 0.16 per cent to 15,857.08.

The gauge touched the day’s high of 15,980.17 and a low of 15,809.31.

However, the 50-scrip NSE index Nifty moved 0.30 point to 4,749.95, after moving between 4,779.80 and 4,730.15.

Brokers said investors remained cautious ahead of corporate result seasons for the third quarter, 2011-12, starting next week with Infosys.

They said investors remain concerned about slowdown in economic growth, even as food inflation turned negative at minus 3.36 per cent for the week ended December 24.

Trading sentiment also remained damp on concerns over the euro-zone debt crisis. Asian markets ended mixed, while the euro continued to be pressured by the dollar and yen.

The two most heaviest on the Sensex, with 20 per cent weight — Reliance Industries fell 2.34 per cent and Infosys, 0.54 per cent.

The oil and gas sector index suffered the most -- 1.68 per cent at 7,608.11, followed by realty index — 1.65 per cent at 1,400.80. Metal index fell 0.74 per cent to 9,813.50 and IT index was down 0.42 per cent at 5,899.98.

Keywords: BSENSE

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