The benchmark BSE Sensex dropped by 190 points to close at 31,702.25 points on intense selling by investors spooked by escalating geopolitical tensions after North Korea's latest nuclear tests. The broader Nifty, that slipped below the 9,900 mark intra-day, settled at 9,912.85, down by 61.55 points, or 0.62 per cent.
Investors booked profits in recent gainers dragging the indices into losses, brokers said.
Among major losers, Adani Ports, Infosys, Airtel, HDFC Bank and Hindustan Unilever fell up to 2.6 per cent.
Most of the Asian markets ended lower on a flurry of selling and European shares opened in the red. North Korea yesterday carried out its most powerful nuclear test to date, claiming to have developed an advanced hydrogen bomb.
Investors turned to safe-haven investments like gold, silver, Treasury futures and Japanese yen amid growing global tensions.
The rupee too reversed its early gains to decline by 16 paise to 64.18 (intra-day) against the US dollar in afternoon trade on foreign capital outflows. The rupee had gained 7 paise in early trade and touched a high of 63.92 per dollar.