KARACHI: Disappointing results announced by major commercial banks along with absence of positive triggers meant the KSE-100 Index ended 480 points lower on Thursday.
A brief positive start was followed by selling pressure throughout the day, dragging stocks into the red. At close, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index finished with a decrease of 479.72 points or 1.12% to settle at 42,330.32.
Elixir Securities' analyst Murtaza Jafar said equities closed in the red amid selling pressure in banking scrips.
"The market opened positive and traded sideways in the initial hour," said Jafar. "However, strong selling in financials dented sentiments after United Bank Limited (UBL PA -4.51%) announced a poor half year result due to loan provision and a surprise Rs2 billion charge pertaining to the pensions fund. Habib Bank Limited (HBL PA -5%) hit the lower price limit after declaring earnings lower than street estimates.
"Meanwhile, Engro Polymer & Chemical (EPCL PA +1%) ruled the volumes chart after announcing an admirable result for the first half of 2018.
Market watch: KSE-100 ends marginally positive, foreigners remain net sellers
"We expect the KSE-100 to remain range bound with investors keeping an eye on flows from local and foreign institutions. Earnings season will keep interest in the wider market alive," Jafar added.
Overall, trading volumes increased to 284.5 million shares compared with Wednesday's tally of 278.4 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs11.4 billion.
Shares of 381 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 130 stocks closed higher, 235 declined while 16 remained unchanged.
Engro Polymer was the volume leader with 30 million shares, gaining Rs0.35 to close at Rs35.54. It was followed by Unity Foods with 16.6 million shares, gaining Rs1.14 to close at Rs32.36 and Pak International Bulk Terminal with 15.1 million shares, gaining Rs0.30 to close at Rs13.50.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs231.1 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.
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