Sensex fell 765 points on Friday dragged by losses in index heavyweights such as Reliance Industries, HDFC and Kotak Bank a day after the country reported its first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The government on Thursday informed that two cases of the coronavirus variant have been detected in Karnataka. Both the patients are men, aged 46 and 66 years, with mild symptoms. Severe symptoms have not been observed.
The 30-share BSE index ended 764.83 points or 1.31 per cent lower at 57,696.46. The broader NSE Nifty plunged 204.95 points or 1.18 per cent to 17,196.70.
PowerGrid was the top loser on the Sensex, it fell 4.03 per cent. Reliance Industries closed 3.05 per cent lower. Asian Paints, Kotak Bank, Tech Mahindra and Bharti Airtel were the other losers in the packs.
L&T, IndusInd Bank, Tata Steel and UltraTech Cement were among the gainers on the Sensex.
Analysts informed news agency PTI that investors were concerned about the uncertainty triggered by the Omicron variant.
Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo ended with gains, while Hong Kong was in the red.
Stock exchanges in Europe were trading on a positive note in mid-session deals.
International oil benchmark Brent crude surged 2.38 per cent to $71.32 per barrel.
In a separate development, the rupee slipped 14 paise to close at 75.16 against the dollar tracking massive sell-offs in domestic equities amid growing concerns about the new COVID variant.
The local currency opened at 74.98 against the dollar and rose to an intra-day high of 74.95 and fell to an intra-day low of 75.18 against the dollar in a highly volatile trading session today. The local unit finally settled at 75.16 a dollar, down 14 paise over its previous close.
It had closed at 75.02 against the US dollar on Thursday.
(With inputs from PTI)