The rupee weakened by 17 paise to 73.44 against the US dollar in early trade Friday, amid increased demand of the American currencies from importers and sustained foreign fund outflows. Traders said the US dollar's strength against some currencies overseas and a lower opening in the domestic equity markets also weighed on the local unit. On Thursday, the local currency had depreciated by 11 paise to close at 73.27 against the US dollar due to steady capital outflows and sharp decline in domestic equities amid intensifying geopolitical tensions. Meanwhile, on a net basis, foreign funds sold shares worth Rs 1,495.71 crore, while domestic institutional investors bought shares to the tune of Rs 339.60 crore Thursday, provisional data showed. The benchmark BSE Sensex fell 157.17 points, or 0.47 per cent to 33,532.92 in early trade Friday.