The key indices rose in the first few minutes of the day's trade, but soon ceded gains and later went into the negative territory as recent upsurges triggered a bout of profit booking.
Globally, stocks were mostly higher in Asia on Friday after a broad rally on Wall Street. Similarly, European shares opened firmer.
On the domestic front, volumes were a bit higher than the previous two sessions.
Sector-wise, capital goods were the main gainers, whereas oil and gas, bank, auto, IT, healthcare and FMCG indices lost the most.
Consequently, the S&P BSE Sensex traded at 57,696.46 points, down 1.31 per cent from its previous close of 58,461.29 points.
The broader 50-scrip Nifty at the National Stock Exchange (NSE) traded in the red, down 1.18 per cent to 17,196.70 points.
"Nifty corrected after rising for two days, going against the global trend. The advance decline ratio, however, remained in the positive," said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research at HDFC Securities.
"While sell on rallies (especially in largecaps) continues, the broader market seems to have done well," he added.
According to Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services: "Following a positive opening, the benchmark indices gave up all gains led by losses in heavyweights in anticipation of the RBI meet next week.
"Investors were also cautious after India reported Omicron cases. However, global equities traded with slight gains recovering from Thursday's broad based sell-off led by fears of the new Covid variant and the Fed chair's comment on the bond-buying programme."
Siddhartha Khemka, Head of Retail Research at Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said: "Going ahead, market volatility is likely to continue given the uncertainty around the new Omicron variant and Fed tapering. Till clarity doesn't emerge over its rate of transmission, hospitalisation needs etc., news flows around it would keep the markets unpredictable.
"On the other hand, investors would keep an eye on RBI's policy decision due next week, wherein status quo is likely to be maintained amid the appearance of the new Covid variant."