Mumbai: The Sensex recovered more than half of losses, before closing down 561.22 points or 1.61 per cent at 34,195.94 amid global rout.
Investors were also anxious ahead of the RBI policy meet outcome, while the post-Budget sell-off continued.
The start was distinctly weak as the markets went into a free-fall. The Sensex crashed by about 1,275 points to sink below the key 34,000-mark while the NSE Nifty plunged 390 points within minutes of opening.
After a gap down opening at 33,753.78, the BSE Sensex continued its slide to hit a low of 33,482.81 as selling gathered momentum in tandem with weak global leads. However, value-buying emerged at several counters during the late trading session. The benchmark finally ended at 34,195.94, down 561.22 points, or 1.61 per cent.
This is its weakest closing since January 5 when the gauge had settled at 34,153.85.
The 50-share NSE Nifty too closed down 168.30 points, or 1.58 per cent, at 10,498.25 -- a level last seen on January 3 when it closed at 10,443.20. Intra-day, it touched a low of 10,276.30 and a high of 10,594.15.
Sentiments suffered a jolt after other Asian markets closed in the red, tracking record-breaking losses at the Wall Street overnight as investors weigh the risks of more Federal Reserve interest rate hikes following strong economic data, brokers said.
On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 1,600 points during the session, its biggest intraday decline in history.
According to provisional data, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs), who had been making persistent purchases, net sold shares worth Rs 1,263.57 crore, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 1,163.64 crore on Monday.
Overnight, US markets had suffered their biggest loss in over six years. The fall comes on the back of a spike in bonds yields.
Though the Indian market rout was seen throughout the trading session, some stocks still managed to make gains, with over 30 companies hitting their 52-week high levels on Tuesday and gains in blue-chips such as Bharti Airtel and Tata Steel cushioned the fall in the broader market to some extent.
Meanwhile, as many as 32 stocks hit their 52-week high on BSE on Tuesday, including Polaris Consulting & Services.
Among the 30-share Sensex stocks, four companies were trading in green led by Tata Steel, Bharti Airtel, Larsen & Toubro and ICICI Bank.
On the other hand, over 200 stocks hit their 52-week lows on BSE on Tuesday.
Stock market bloodbath has wiped out a staggering Rs 9.6 lakh crore from investor wealth in three days with the rout continuing amid sell-off in world markets.
(With inputs from agency)