The Sensex on Tuesday erased initial gains to close 136 points lower at a nearly three-week low of 18,577.70 on heavy selling in Reliance Industries, L&T, Tata Motors and M&M shares, amid a firming global trend.

After opening higher at 18,784.75, the the BSE benchmark index started trimming gains from the end of first hour as investors sold positions in auto stocks. RIL, which mostly met market expectations with second quarter earnings yesterday, also gave up initial gains as selling intensified.

“...one-sided selling pressure was witnessed through the end. Broad-based selling was seen, with RIL losing over 1 per cent after announcing results. Banking and Auto stocks also saw selling pressure,” said Nidhi Sarswat, Senior Research Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio.

Dealers said even a positive opening in European indices failed to enthuse the domestic market sentiment. The 30-share Sensex finally ended the session down 135.85 points, or 0.73 per cent, at 18,577.70, a level last seen on September 27.

As many as 23 stocks reported losses led by Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), Tata Motors, Hindalco and Tata Steel. RIL, SBI, Infosys and ITC also ended lower.

Brokers said sentiment dampened as investors focussed on RIL reporting fourth straight quarterly drop in profit.

Auto scrips fell on lower-than-expected sales while metal stocks were hit on fears of slowdown in China hitting demand.

Metal, capital goods, power, realty and PSU shares were hit while consumer durables and some IT shares saw gains.

The falling trend was to some extent capped on firming trend in Asia and Europe after US retail sales beat estimates, improving outlook for Indian exporters, they added.

Likewise, the 50-share National Stock Exchange index Nifty fell by 39.25 points, or 0.69 per cent, to 5,648.

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