The benchmark Sensex fell for the fourth day on Thursday losing 230 points due to heavy selling by investors after official data showed that inflation rose the most since May and exports declined in September.

The Bombay Stock Exchange barometer, which had lost nearly 527 points in the last three trading sessions, settled at 16.052.72 points, a loss of 230.77 points over the previous close. Earlier in the day, the 30-share index had dipped below the crucial 16,000 points level.

The wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty dipped by 75.60 points to close at 4,750.55 points.

Brokers said that selling pressure gained momentum after investors off-loaded part of their holdings as inflation accelerated the most since May and exports declined by 13.8 per cent in September for the 12th month in a row.

Inflation rose to 1.51 per cent as of October 17 on the back of higher food prices.

Expiry of October month contracts in the derivatives segment and weak global trends also weighed on market sentiment, brokers said.

Banking stocks continued to be the top losers on worries that their profits would be hurt after the Reserve Bank raised the provision ratio for bad debts in its credit policy review.

Asian markets fell after disappointing US housing data fuelled concerns about global growth.

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