KARACHI: The stock market closed in red territory yet again as losses in the heavyweight financial and cement sectors dragged the index down significantly due to reported profit-taking.
Pharmaceuticals were the standout sector during the trading session, benefitting from regulatory changes that have allowed prices of all medicinal products to be increased throughout the country.
At close, the KSE-100 Index ended with a decrease of 224.19 points or 0.50% to finish at 44,233.11 points.
Elixir Securities' analyst Ali Raza said Pakistan equities closed the fourth consecutive session negative with benchmark KSE-100 Index settling below 44,300 level and volumes dropping to 72 million shares, down ~17% day-on-day.
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Major drag was witnessed in financials and cement sectors due to profit-taking, while pharmaceuticals were among the top gainers as the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan notified of an increase in prices across all categories of medicines after approval from the federal cabinet.
Within pharmaceuticals, Glaxo Pakistan GLAXO PA +5% was among the top gainers and closed at upper price limit while Searl Pakistan SEARL PA +2.2% and Abbot Laboratories ABOT PA +2.21% also closed higher.
Hascol Petroleum HASCOL PA -1.5%, which opened the day limit down post its notification yesterday evening of an out-of-court settlement with MENA Energy amounting to $9.5 million, covered back losses during the day through reported institutional buying at lows.
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"We see volatile and dull trading in the coming days unless institutional activity again picks up strongly primarily from foreigners as locals will likely wait for triggers before any aggressive participation. That said, earnings-related excitement will keep interest alive in select names," he added.
Overall, trading volume increased to 282 million shares, compared with Monday's tally of 192 million.
Shares of 366 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 141 stocks closed higher, 207 declined while 18 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs9.5 billion.
WorldCall Telecom was the volume leader with 35.3 million shares, losing Rs0.20 to close at Rs2.57. It was followed by Fauji Foods with 25.2 million shares, gaining Rs0.87 to close at Rs19.98 and Aisha Steel Mill with 18.18 million shares, gaining Rs0.72 to close at Rs21.46.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs74 million during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.
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