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Equity benchmark Sensex plummeted 1,688 points on Friday, tracking a massive selloff in global markets as concerns over a new COVID-19 variant spooked investors across the world.

The 30-share index ended 1,687.94 points or 2.87 per cent lower at 57,107.15. Similarly, the NSE Nifty plunged 509.80 points or 2.91 per cent to 17,026.45.

IndusInd Bank was the top loser in the Sensex pack, tanking over 6 per cent, followed by Maruti, Tata Steel, NTPC, Bajaj Finance, HDFC and Titan.

On the other hand, Dr Reddy's and Nestle India were among the gainers.

Markets saw sharp correction this week amid renewed concerns pertaining to COVID-19. Sensex and Nifty declined close to 4 per cent this week and are down around 8 per cent from their highs, said Shrikant Chouhan, Head of Equity Research (Retail), Kotak Securities.

"The new variant of COVID-19 is presenting challenges in the form of lockdowns and travel bans. Apart from COVID-related concerns, inflation remains a worry for countries across the globe. FIIs have been net sellers this week. Equity markets in the near term will closely follow the impact of new COVID variant, inflation data, and central bank policies," he added.

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.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude tanked 5.62 per cent to USD 77.60 per barrel.

Rupee Plunges By 37 Paise Against Dollar On New COVID Variant Worries

The rupee on Friday plunged by 37 paise against the US dollar as investors turned cautious in view of massive selloffs in domestic equities and worries over a new variant of COVID-19.

At the interbank foreign exchange market, the local currency opened at 74.60 and witnessed an intra-day high of 74.58 and a low of 74.92 against the US dollar in day trade.

The local unit settled at 74.89 a dollar, down 37 paise over its previous close of 74.52.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, was trading 0.34 per cent down at 96.44.

"Rupee erased all the gains of the month following risk-off moods after worries over a new variant of COVID-19 surges. Month-end dollar demand and unwinding of carry trade in global forex markets also weighed on rupee," Dilip Parmar, Research Analyst, HDFC Securities.

The rupee registered its biggest weekly fall after October 8, and closed at its weakest level since November 2, Parmar said.

A level above 75 will clear the way for 75.68, weakest level of the year, Parmar said, adding that "now, the support has been shifted from 73.80 to 74.30".

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers in the capital market on Thursday as they offloaded shares worth Rs 2,300.65 crore, as per exchange data.

Gold Climbs Rs 570; Silver Zooms Rs 190

Gold prices in the national capital rallied by Rs 570 to Rs 47,155 per 10 grams on Friday in line with gains in metal prices in the global markets and a fall in the rupee against the US dollar, according to HDFC Securities.

In the previous trade, the precious metal had settled at Rs 46,585 per 10 gram.

Silver also jumped Rs 190 to Rs 62,145 per kg from Rs 61,955 per kg in the previous trade.

In the international market, gold was trading with gains at USD 1,808 per ounce and silver was flat at USD 23.70 per ounce.

"Gold prices traded higher with spot gold prices at COMEX trading 1 per cent up at USD 1,808 per ounce on Friday. The softer dollar and fall in US bond yields have supported gold prices to trade up," according to HDFC Securities, Senior Analyst (Commodities), Tapan Patel.

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