Market watch: Profit-taking drags index lower amid thin volumes

Published: November 19, 2018
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Benchmark index decreases 307.98 points to settle at 41,352.77. PHOTO: FILE

Benchmark index decreases 307.98 points to settle at 41,352.77. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: The stock market lost ground on Monday amid low trading volumes because of a lack of positive triggers.

Following a brief open in the positive zone, the KSE-100 index immediately dropped 320 points as selling pressure emerged. Investors resorted to profit-taking as they waited for the release of $1 billion by Saudi Arabia under the financial assistance package.

Additionally, market participants were also looking at developments in the UAE as Prime Minister Imran Khan was on his second trip to the Gulf country. However, no announcement regarding financial assistance dampened the overall mood.

US President Donald Trump’s anti-Pakistan comments also kept the market under pressure.

At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 307.98 points or 0.74% to settle at 41,352.77.

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Elixir Securities’ analyst Murtaza Jafar said the benchmark KSE-100 traded under pressure as investors took profit amid a lack of triggers and low volumes.

“Financial and cement stocks took the lead with MCB Bank (-1.93%), Habib Bank (-1.77%), Maple Leaf Cement (-3.84%) and DG Khan Cement (-2.79%) collectively contributing 101 points to the market’s decline,” Jafar said.

DG Khan Cement came under pressure as Supreme Court hearings concluded in the Katas Raj case in which it directed the company to deposit Rs80 million for the water utilised and Rs20 million as penalty for attempting to mislead the court.

“Going forward, the conclusion of the IMF review for a bailout package and disbursement of $1 billion from Saudi Arabia are likely to lift investor sentiments in an otherwise dull market,” he added.

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Overall, trading volumes decreased to 176.4 million shares compared with Friday’s tally of 201.5 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs6.95 billion.

Shares of 361 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 142 stocks closed higher, 204 declined and 15 remained unchanged.

Lotte Chemical XD was the volume leader with 18.8 million shares, gaining Rs0.01 to close at Rs19.96. It was followed by Siddiqsons Tin Plate with 14.9 million shares, gaining Rs0.89 to close at Rs21.11 and Dost Steels with 13.7 million shares, gaining Rs0.82 to close at Rs6.92.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs576.5 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.

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