Snapping a three-day gaining streak, the BSE benchmark Sensex today dropped by 157 points after investors became jittery with rupee slumping to a new record low amid fund outflows.

The Sensex, which had gained 153 points in the past three sessions, fell by 156.85 points, or 0.97 per cent to 16,026.41.

While the 30-share index climbed to the day’s high of 16,366.72 in early trade tracking strong global trends, investors panicked after the rupee plunged far below the 55-level. The currency was last trading near its record lows of 55.45 levels against the US dollar.

The downtrend in Sensex was led by stocks in banking, metal and power sectors. Amongst the 30 scrips, 26 closed with losses while only four closed higher. Across the market, over 1,500 stocks fell while just 1,082 ended with gains. Investors became poorer by over Rs 45,000 crore.

Brokers said selling pressure emerged on foreign funds selling after the rupee tumbled to new record lows despite Reserve Bank announcing measures to support the falling currency yesterday.

After the rupee plunged to al-—time low of 55.04 against the American currency yesterday, RBI imposed restrictions of USD 100 million on “position limit” for forward contracts by banks. It also advised the banks dealing in foreign currency to bring down their trading limits by June-end.

The banking sector was hard hit with a loss of 1.51 per cent to 10,678.79 as the segment major SBI, which had been on upsurge since announcement of strong earnings, fell by 3.43 per cent to Rs 1,938.50. ICICI Bank fell by 1.23 per cent to Rs 800,85 and HDFC Bank by 1.69 per ent to Rs 489.05.

On similar lines, the NSE Nifty lost 45.55 points, or 0.93 per cent to settle at 4,860.50. The 50-share touched a high of 4,956.35.

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