KARACHI: The stock market continued to remain under pressure on Thursday with investors opting to book profits, thus pushing the benchmark index deep into the red.
Concerns over macroeconomic conditions, declining foreign exchange reserves and political uncertainty also dampened investor sentiments.
The KSE-100 Index opened negative in the morning and dived 500 points in intra-day trading amid brief bouts of buying on dips. The benchmark index hit the intra-day low at 42,940.70 points, but soon after it managed to recover as investors chose to buy stocks at attractive valuations.
Despite late buying, the index finished its third successive session in the red.
At close, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 368.44 points or 0.85% to settle at 43,072.74.
According to Topline Securities, investors in Pakistan stocks remained concerned amid rising uncertainty over macroeconomic indicators and worries over depleting foreign exchange reveres. This led the market to erase 368 points from the index that closed at 43,073.
Avanceon Limited gained 4% as investors reacted to the news about the company’s newly undertaken projects in the UAE and Doha.
Ghandhara Nissan closed at its upper price cap because investors were betting that the company would be able to launch Nissan Datsun car.
Among different sectors, exploration and production companies erased 85 points from the index, followed by commercial banks and cement stocks that cumulatively deleted 108 points. Refineries, however, contributed seven points to the index, the report said.
Top five stocks including Bank AL Habib (+1.1%), National Refinery (+3.6%), Dawood Hercules (+0.6%), Bank Alfalah (+0.5%) and National Bank (+0.5%) added 29 points to the index whereas Habib Bank (-1.6%), Oil and Gas Development Company (-1.5%), Pakistan Petroleum (-1.4%), Lucky Cement (-1.4%) and Hubco (-1.6%) removed 157 points.
Overall, trading volumes increased to 163 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 142 million.
Shares of 349 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 80 stocks closed higher, 244 declined while 25 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs7.4 billion.
Azgard Nine was the volume leader with 24.8 million shares, losing Rs0.88 to close at Rs15.96. It was followed by K-Electric with nine million shares, losing Rs0.12 to close at Rs6.17 and Pak Elektron with 8.9 million shares, losing Rs1.95 to close at Rs45.21.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs296.9 million during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.