Stocks lose 100 points in volatile last session of 2018

Benchmark index decreases 0.27% to settle at 37,066.67


Our Correspondent December 31, 2018

KARACHI: Volatility marred the last stock trading session of the year as the KSE-100 index recorded sharp swings due to political tensions in the country.

Developments on the economic front also fuelled negative sentiments, resulting in the index ending the day below 37,100 points.

Earlier, trading began on a negative note and the index dived nearly 350 points, hitting an intra-day low of 36,802.40. Overall, volatile international crude oil prices, uncertainty about the government entering into an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, weak macroeconomic indicators and expected poor corporate earnings kept investors cautious and contributed to the market's poor performance.

At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 100.35 points or 0.27% to settle at 37,066.67.

Market watch: Stocks hammered as KSE-100 falls 687 points

Elixir Securities' analyst Murtaza Jafar said the benchmark KSE-100 index traded under pressure for most part of the session amid heightened volatility.

United Bank Limited (-4.38%), Lucky Cement (-4.59%) and Engro Corporation (-2.33%) were the major laggards, which collectively contributed 160 points to the day's decline.

On the flip side, MCB Bank (+2.21%), Pakistan Oilfields (+2.31%) and Pakistan Petroleum Limited (+1.29%) collectively added 87 points to the benchmark index, Jafar said.

"After Monday's session, the equities concluded the year, posting a decline of 8.4%. Going into the new year, valuations are undoubtedly attractive; we, however, expect investors to track news flow about the IMF programme along with details of a mini-budget due in mid-January before reviewing sector allocations," he added.

Overall, trading volumes increased to 226.1 million shares compared with Friday's tally of 174.4 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs11.1 billion.

Market watch: Lacklustre trading continues as index slips further

Shares of 341 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 153 stocks closed higher, 165 declined and 23 remained unchanged.

Silkbank was the volume leader with 23.1 million shares, gaining Rs0.12 to close at Rs1.25. It was followed by K-Electric with 18.6 million shares, gaining Rs0.02 to close at Rs5.94 and Sui Southern Gas Company with 15.3 million shares, gaining Rs0.21 to close at Rs23.10.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs45.5 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.

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