Mumbai, Feb 20 (PTI) The BSE Sensex erased all its early gains to finish lower by over 71 points today, extending fall to a third straight session, with private banks playing the spoilsport despite IT counters trying to counterbalance the pressure. Also Read - After SBI, HDFC, Now ICICI Bank Slashes Interest Rate on Home Loans | Check Details Here

Private sector lenders Axis Bank, Kotak Bank, Yes Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank fell as much as 1.44 per cent today. Also Read - Have You Faced ATM Transaction Failure Due to Insufficient Balance? Here’s What You Need to do

Besides, investors chose to book profits after Fitch placed state-run Punjab National Bank on ‘Rating Watch Negative’ (RWN), reflecting a possibility of downgrade following the USD 1.77 billion fraud. Also Read - ICICI Bank Launches Online Platform For Foreign Companies Setting up India Ops

The fraud — the biggest ever in the banking history — has raised questions on both internal and external risk controls as well as the quality of management supervision considering that the fraud went undetected for several years, it said.

Also, sustained foreign funds outflows and the rupee depreciating 68 paise to hit a three-month low of 64.88

(intra-day) against the dollar added to the negativity.

The 30-share Sensex had soared over 186 points to hit a

high of 33,960.95 in early trade, but gave up its gains completely following late sell-off, which dragged it down to a low of 33,657.89. The barometer finally ended at 33,703.59, down 71.07 points or 0.21 per cent.

The gauge had lost 522.81 points in the previous two sessions.

The broader NSE Nifty closed lower by 18 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 10,360.40 after shuttling between 10,429.35 and 10,347.65.

Selling was more pronounced in banking, realty, capital goods, healthcare, auto and infrastructure stocks that dragged the indices into the negative zone.

Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 895.79 crore yesterday, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) were net buyers to the tune of Rs 586.52 crore, as per provisional data. PTI SUN DP KPS SDG MKJ

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.