KARACHI: The Pakistan Stock Exchange endured a volatile session on Wednesday amid thin volumes and lack of interest from investors.
Bearish sentiments prevailed as the market remained range bound with multiple spikes and declines throughout the day. The bourse shed 91 points as investors chose to remain on sidelines because of deadlock in negotiations between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a bailout.
The KSE-100 index opened the day down but soon uncertainty started gripping the market, forcing it to trade sideways till close. The market oscillated between green and red zones as investors continued to stay away. At regular intervals, however, cherry-picking of stocks was noted which provided some vital support.
News about increase in cement prices in the north zone broke during the session but stocks of northern cement companies did not have any major impact.
Market watch: KSE-100 inches up in lacklustre trading
At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of just 90.85 points or 0.24% to settle at 38,218.07.
Elixir Securities analyst Murtaza Jafar said equities closed marginally negative with the benchmark KSE-100 index settling at 38,218.
"The market kicked off sideways following declines in regional markets but fell towards the end owing to pressure of lower international crude oil prices on the oil and gas exploration sector," Jafar said.
Pakistan Oilfields (-2.32%), Pakistan Petroleum Limited (-1.37%) and Oil and Gas Development Company (-1.55%) closed in the red.
Market activity continued to remain dull but retail names dominated volume charts with K-Electric (+0.17%), Aisha Steel Mills (+3.49%) and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (+2.52%) recording cumulative trading in 21 million shares.
"(We) expect the market to remain range bound where our technical analysis indicates support at 37,600-37,800 levels," the analyst added.
Market watch: KSE-100 recovers to end positive as foreign investors turn buyers
Overall, trading volumes increased to 88.6 million shares compared with Monday's tally of 74.7 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs3.8 billion.
Shares of 340 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 177 stocks closed higher, 137 declined and 26 remained unchanged.
K-Electric was the volume leader with 12.75 million shares, gaining Rs0.01 to close at Rs6.04. It was followed by Aisha Steel Mills with 4.46 million shares, gaining Rs0.35 to close at Rs10.38 and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines with 4.16 million shares, gaining Rs2 to close at Rs81.29.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs47.22 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.
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