KARACHI: The stock market continued to take a battering as the KSE-100 index dipped 550 points in intra-day trading on Monday and closed its fifth successive session in the red.
The index started falling from the moment trading began as investors turned focus to latest developments in relations between the US and Pakistan after Washington suspended $300 million worth of aid for Islamabad.
The impending visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and absence of any positive triggers also contributed to the bearish sentiment.
Despite a lack of concrete measures from the government to put the economy on a sound footing, late trading helped the index make some recovery.
According to Topline Securities, K-Electric had the largest impact on the market, adding 14 points to the index after news the new government was going to review the deal between the Abraaj Group and Shanghai Electric Power for acquisition of 66% stake in the private power utility.
Resultantly, the stock emerged as the market leader with trading in 16.7 million shares.
At close, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 160.28 points or 0.38% to settle at 41,581.96.
Elixir Securities’ analyst Muhammad Arbash said weakness in equities persisted with the benchmark KSE-100 index closing below 41,600 points.
“The market opened and traded in the negative zone throughout the day as investors were worried about the stalemate in policy direction to address the structural economic issues.
“Sentiments were also driven south on weekend news about a Senate panel demanding withdrawal of the incentive of 7.5% deemed duty extended to the refineries,” the analyst said.
Attock Refinery (-4%) traded at its lower circuit during the day.
A meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Monday could not take any meaningful decision on tackling the circular debt. The committee, however, announced that urea production would resume at two closed plants including Agritech Limited (+7.3%).
“The announcement was in line with our expectation, though further gains in the stock will be driven by a final decision on concessionary LNG pricing for the manufacturers,” Arbash said.
“With the KSE-100 coming off 2.3% in the preceding month, we see the market consolidating around current levels as investors await newly formed government’s policy steps to address the growing twin deficit.”
Overall, trading volumes decreased slightly to 159.2 million shares compared with Friday’s tally of 159.8 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs5.2 billion.
Shares of 366 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 94 stocks closed higher, 253 declined while 19 remained unchanged.
K-Electric was the volume leader with 16.7 million shares, gaining Rs0.24 to close at Rs5.55. It was followed by Agritech Limited with 14.5 million shares, gaining Rs0.71 to close at Rs8.21 and WorldCall Telecom with 8 million shares, losing Rs0.11 to close at Rs2.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs479.7 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.