The BSE benchmark Sensex on Friday fell sharply by 294 points in early trade mainly due to widespread losses in IT sector stocks after Infosys forecast lower-than-expected sales for fiscal 2013-14.

Besides, a mixed trend in the global markets also influenced the trading sentiment here.

The 30-share index declined by 294.59 points, or 1.59 per cent, to 18,247.61, with stocks of IT, tech, realty, consumer durables and auto sectors leading the fall. The gauge had gained nearly 316 points in the previous two sessions.

Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty declined by 76.50 points, or 1.37 per cent, to 5,517.50.

In the Asian region, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up by 0.15 per cent, while Japan’s Nikkei Index shed 0.52 per cent in the morning trade on Friday.

The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.42 per cent higher in Thursday’s trade.

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