Equity benchmark Sensex dropped over 300 points in early trade on Tuesday, tracking losses in index majors Reliance Industries, Bajaj Finance and ITC amid weak cues from global markets as concerns over the new coronavirus strain continued to spook investors. The 30-share BSE index rallied over 384 points in the opening session but soon pared the gains to trade 307.60 points or 0.68 per cent lower at 45,246.36.
After a similar movement, the broader NSE Nifty slipped 99.90 points or 0.75 per cent to 13,228.50.
M&M was the top laggard in the Sensex pack, shedding around 3 per cent, followed by Bajaj Finance, ONGC, ITC, IndusInd Bank, Reliance Industries, Bajaj Finserv and Dr Reddy's Lab.
On the other hand, HCL Tech, Infosys, TCS, Tech Mahindra, HDFC and Power Grid were among the gainers.
In the previous session, Sensex plunged 1,406.73 points or 3 per cent to close at 45,553.96. This was its biggest single-day fall since May 4 this year. Nifty also tanked 432.15 points or 3.14 per cent to finish at 13,328.40.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) turned net sellers in the capital market as they sold shares worth Rs 323.55 crore on a net basis on Monday, according to provisional exchange data.
Domestic equities appear to be better placed now despite weak global cues, said Binod Modi Head-Strategy at Reliance Securities.
"Yesterdays' sharp sell-off in domestic markets was not surprising given Nifty witnessed a rally of over 16 per cent in the last two months and outperformed global markets.
"While concerns of a new strain of COVID-19 do not augur well for the markets, India still continues to look better placed compared to others. However, markets are likely to remain volatile in coming days until clarity emerges about new coronavirus strains and efficacy of ongoing vaccinations," he said.
US equities, despite recovering sharply from the day’s low, ended mostly lower as concerns over a new virus in the UK and South Africa dampened investor sentiment.
Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Seoul, Hong Kong and Tokyo were trading in the red in mid-session deals.
Meanwhile, the global oil benchmark Brent crude futures were trading 0.45 per cent lower at USD 50.68 per barrel.