Sensex and NSE both fell by approx 3 per cent on Friday as investors took to panic-selling on the back of weakness in global markets as the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa affected investor sentiment globally.
The 30-share index ended 1,687 points or 2.87 per cent lower at 57,107.15.
The NSE Nifty fell 509.80 points or 2.91 per cent to close at 17,026.45.
Moreover, the international oil benchmark Brent crude slipped 5.62 per cent lower to $77.60/barrel.
While on one hand, IndusInd Bank fell over 6 per cent to become the top loser on the Sensex followed by Maruti, Tata Steel, NTPC, Bajaj Finance, HDFC and Titan, on the other hand, Dr Reddy's and Nestle India emerged as the top gainers on the index.
Analysts informed news agency PTI that the new variant of COVID-19 presents challenges in the form of lockdowns and travel bans. This is accompanied by concerns about inflation in several countries.
The new variant found in South Africa goes by the scientific lineage number, B.1.1.529 and is reported to have more mutations than the Delta variant. The European Union said on Friday that it is planning to halt all air travel from the southern part of Africa as it continues to battle a massive spike in cases.
Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo sank as much as 2.67 per cent.
Stock exchanges in Europe too plunged up to 3.51 per cent in mid-session deals.
In a separate development on Friday, the rupee plunged by 37 paise to close at 74.89 against the dollar. At the interbank foreign exchange market, the local currency fell to an intra-day low of 74.92 and rose to an intra-day high of 74.58 before settling at 74.89 against the dollar. According to Research Analysts at HDFC Securities, Dilip Parmar, the rupee registered its biggest weekly fall after October 8 and closed at its weakest level since November 2.