Equity benchmark Sensex plummeted over 1,000 points in early trade on Monday, tracking across-the-board losses amid a selloff in global markets as concerns over rising Omicron cases spooked investors.
Persistent foreign fund outflow too weighed on investor sentiment.
The 30-share index slumped 1,028.61 points or 1.80 per cent to 55,983.13 in the opening trade. Similarly, the Nifty tanked 307.50 points or 1.81 per cent to 16,677.70.
Bajaj Finance was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding around 4 per cent, followed by Tata Steel, SBI, NTPC, M&M and HDFC Bank.
On the other hand, Sun Pharma was the sole gainer.
In the previous session, the 30-share equity benchmark had ended 889.40 points or 1.54 per cent lower at 57,011.74. Similarly, the NSE Nifty had plunged 263.20 points or 1.53 per cent to 16,985.20.
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net sellers in the capital market, as they sold shares worth Rs 2,069.90 crore on Friday, according to stock exchange data.
Rising inflation, hawkish central banks, exploding COVID cases, sustained selling by FIIs and slowing growth momentum in the developed economies combined to produce the perfect storm that spooked the markets last week, said VK Vijayakumar, Chief investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services.
"These negative factors persist, causing concerns about further downtrend in the market, particularly if FIIs continue to sell. But negative sentiments are unlikely to last long. Omicron variant, though fast spreading, has not proved to be highly virulent as feared. Also, FIIs will turn buyers soon when valuations become attractive," he noted.
Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul were trading with heavy losses in mid-session deals as concerns over the resurgence of COVID cases battered global sentiment.
Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude fell 2.45 per cent to $71.72 per barrel.