Shares swung between gains and losses before edging a tad higher as Credit Suisse, one of Europe's top lenders, added to worries about a crisis in the financial sector.
The Nifty 50 index closed 0.08% higher at 16,985.60, while the S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.14% to 57,634.84. Both benchmarks fell 0.7% during the session, before reversing losses.
The Nifty 50 had lost 4.4% over the last five sessions, while the Nifty financials index slid 5.3%.
The volatility index surged to 17.36, the highest since February 2, the day after the union budget, before closing above 16.2.
Ten of the 13 major sectoral indexes advanced, with the high-weightage financials rising 0.31%.
Fast-moving consumer goods rose over 1% after analysts flagged signs of recovery in rural growth while metals shed over 2.5% on broader demand worries and risk aversion.
Market sentiment was dented by fears of contagion in the global financial sector after Credit Suisse's woes meant its stock plunged as much as 30% to a record low on Wednesday.
It recovered some ground on Thursday, jumping 24% after it announced it was borrowing up to $54 billion from Switzerland's central bank. The news propped up European markets, which rebounded from the sharp fall in the previous session.
While there is no material impact on Indian markets due to Credit Suisse, the sentimental impact is obvious, three analysts said.
"Whenever a bank opts for emergency funding, it means things are really bad, as an emergency fund is the last resort," said Avinash Gorakshakar, head of research at Profitmart Securities.
Among individual stocks, Zee Entertainment jumped 9.34% after a report said that the media company agreed to repay $10 million dues owed to IndusInd Bank.
Titan jumped over 2% after global brokerage firm JP Morgan termed it the preferred discretionary play.