KARACHI: The stock market endured a volatile session on Thursday as the index failed to sustain positive momentum of the preceding session and slipped into the negative territory.
The KSE-100 index skidded lower amid choppy trading, dropping nearly 250 points and hitting an intra-day low of 41,284.64.
Selling pressure was witnessed as investors adopted a wait-and-see approach due to ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a possible bailout package. Additionally, lack of clarity over the Chinese financial package also added to the overall sombre mood.
The index continued to trade in the red zone for the entire day. At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 176.60 points or 0.43% to settle at 41,367.38.
Elixir Securities’ analyst Murtaza Jafar said equities were negative with the benchmark KSE-100 index settling at 41,367.
“Profit-taking was witnessed as investors preferred to remain on the sidelines in index names as a Pakistani delegation leaves for China to finalise modalities of a Chinese economic support programme while officials of the Ministry of Finance are currently engaged with the IMF in Islamabad,” Jafar said.
Matco Foods Limited (+3.3%) garnered investor interest after the adviser to prime minister on commerce, industry and investment declared that China had agreed to double its imports from Pakistan. Key industries of interest included agriculture in addition to traditional export-oriented sectors of the country.
“Going forward, we expect investor sentiments to shape up once clarity emerges on the outcome of SBP governor and finance secretary visit to China,” he said.
Overall, trading volumes decreased to 224.7 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 276.9 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs8.1 billion.
Shares of 358 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 120 stocks closed higher, 219 declined and 19 remained unchanged.
The Bank of Punjab was the volume leader with 31.9 million shares, gaining Rs0.12 to close at Rs13.47. It was followed by Lotte Chemical with 22.5 million shares, losing Rs0.12 to close at Rs18.74 and TRG Pakistan with 17.2 million shares, gaining Rs0.58 to close at Rs31.98.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs3.6 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.