KARACHI: The KSE-100 continued to witness selling pressure, falling below the 43,000 level after a 411-point retreat on Thursday.
Trading remained range-bound in the early part of the day before pressure mounted to push the benchmark deep in the red.
The index hit an intra-day low of 42,859.85 points before cherry-picking began. Thursday's data also showed foreign investors to be net buyers.
At close, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 410.69 points or 0.95% to settle at 42,942.35.
According to Topline Securities, investors treaded cautiously ahead of the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) meeting in Paris next week (Feb 18-23, 2018) as US and a few European countries plan to table a motion to put Pakistan back on its watchlist.
Market watch: KSE-100 falls 337 points as selling pressure persists
"Interest was seen in mid-tier banks amid attractive valuations," stated the report. "Sector wise data suggests fertiliser eroded 75 points from the index, followed by cement and oil & gas marketing."
Elixir Securities' analyst Zainul Abedin said equities closed negative on dreary activity with the benchmark KSE-100 Index seeing a turnover of only $88 million.
"The market opened on a mixed note and continued to witness lacklustre activity and sideways trading during the early hours. Market later on started bleeding as losses in notable blue chips on reported institutional selling dragged down the benchmark KSE-100 Index to below the 43,000 psychological level," remarked Abedin.
"Meanwhile, earnings announced by MCB Bank MCB PA +0.6% came in lower than expectations; stock saw good activity in off-market, trading at a 1% discount to Thursday's closing with a little over 4 million shares exchanging hands reportedly between a foreign seller and local buyers.
Market watch: KSE-100 gains 175 points
"[We] see volatile trading to continue with chartist now seeing the next support area around 42,500/200," the analyst added.
Overall, trading volumes rose to 219 million shares compared with Wednesday's tally of 207 million.
Shares of 381 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 88 stocks closed higher, 277 declined while 16 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs7.7 billion.
Azgard Nine was the volume leader with 19.9 million shares, gaining Rs0.70 to close at Rs19.32. It was followed by PTCL with 15.4 million shares, losing Rs0.07 to close at Rs12.54 and Fauji Foods with 14 million shares, gaining Rs0.10 to close at Rs25.46.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs179 million during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.