KARACHI: The benchmark KSE-100 Index, after a cheerful start, fell on Tuesday in the wake of losses in banking stocks and profit-taking in cement companies as the index faced resistance at the 44,000 psychological barrier.
In the morning, the index moved upwards hitting an intra-day high of 44,044.01 points before profit-taking set in that wiped out all the gains and pushed the index down by more than 100 points.
At close, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 123.98 points or 0.28% to settle at 43,705.10.
Elixir Securities' analyst Ali Raza said Pakistan equities closed lower after the benchmark index met resistance at 44,000 points.
"The market opened on a cheerful note in line with higher regional markets with cement stocks leading the gains on strong institutional flows following another round of increase in cement prices in the northern region," he said.
The index tested an intra-day high above the 44,000 psychological barrier, but it failed to sustain the level for long as losses in other index-heavy stocks including Habib Bank (-1.6%), MCB Bank (-0.5%), Pakistan Oilfields (-0.5%) and Engro Corp (-1.2%) dented the index.
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Later, cement stocks too pared the morning gains on profit-booking and closed mostly in the red.
On the corporate front, Engro Polymer and Chemicals (-4.6%) hit the lower price limit as investors feared that a possible right share issue would be made in coming days.
"Going forward, we see news flow on the economic and political fronts to guide market direction," he said.
Overall, trading volumes increased to 178 million shares compared with Monday's tally of 137 million.
Shares of 371 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 143 stocks closed higher, 205 declined while 23 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs8.1 billion.
Fauji Cement was the volume leader with 12.1 million shares, gaining Rs0.39 to close at Rs28.96. It was followed by Unity Foods with 10 million shares, gaining Rs1.39 to close at Rs27.58 and Dost Steels with 9.9 million shares, losing Rs0.33 to close at Rs12.32.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs77 million during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.