KARACHI: The stock market continued to take a battering as the benchmark index dived nearly 500 points in intra-day trading and closed its fourth successive session in the red.

After opening positive, the KSE-100 index tumbled, hitting an intra-day low of 40,369.17 on concerns over the economy and the difficult decisions required to improve the situation.

The bourse remained under pressure and investors stood on the sidelines before a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) scheduled for the day.

As the outcome of the meeting became clear, it helped the index pare losses and march northwards. Despite the recovery, it ended the day on a negative note.

At close, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 170.72 points or 0.42% to settle at 40,684.05.

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Elixir Securities’ analyst Muhammad Arbash said equities fell with the benchmark KSE-100 index settling below 40,700 points.

“The market opened on a lacklustre note, touching an intra-day low of 485 points, but it bounced back later due to support from energy-intensive stocks after the ECC meeting could not finalise a proposed hike in gas tariffs,” he said.

Volumes stood low as most institutional investors waited for economic policy direction from the government.

Major participation was witnessed in retail plays including Unity Foods (+4.64%), Fauji Foods (+2.22%) and TRG Pakistan (+3.91%).

Hi-Tech Lubricants (-1.84%) announced its FY18 result where it declared earnings per share of Rs6.55 along with final cash dividend of Rs1.75.

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“[We] expect the market to post a technical rebound around 40,000, followed by further downside if the government continues to delay tough decisions needed to control twin deficits,” Arbash added.

Overall, trading volumes decreased to 112.6 million shares compared with Friday’s tally of 120.9 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs4.2 billion.

Shares of 357 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 133 stocks closed higher, 206 declined while 18 remained unchanged.

Unity Foods was the volume leader with 9.7 million shares, gaining Rs1.74 to close at Rs39.23. It was followed by Fauji Foods with 7.2 million shares, gaining Rs0.74 to close at Rs34.13 and TRG Pakistan with 5.6 million shares, gaining Rs1.10 to close at Rs29.26.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs83.6 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.