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    Sensex slides below 18,000-points mark

    Mumbai: A benchmark index for Indian equities markets fell below the psychological resistance level of 18,000 points on Friday on continued selling pressure for the second day after the central bank hiked its key policy rates to curb inflation.

    The sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened in the positive at 18,251.18 points, slipped into the red within half an hour of trading.

    In the afternoon, the Sensex was trading at 17,924.01 points, down 1.24 per cent or 225.86 points from the previous close at 18,149.87 points.

    At the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the broader 50-share S and P CNX Nifty was down 1.13 per cent or 61.35 points at 5,385.30 points in the afternoon.

    There was heavy selling pressure in oil and gas stocks. Reliance Industries fell nearly four per cent after a report that it's output from gas field in the KG-D6 basin were projected to remain 13 per cent lower.

    The BSE oil and gas index tumbled nearly three per cent. All the broader markets as well as sectoral indices were in the red in the afternoon session.