KARACHI: The KSE-100 index closed slightly lower on Thursday amid investor concern over global equity sell-off and uncertainty about announcements in the upcoming mini-budget.
The market showed signs of nervousness throughout the day with panic selling at some points as the index touched an intra-day low of nearly 500 points. Before the end of trading, the index, however, recovered and closed near the previous day's level.
Investor concern over weak global crude oil prices, prevailing economic uncertainty in the country and ongoing political noise played the role of catalysts for the bearish trend in the market.
At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 28.05 points or 0.07% to settle at 39,243.89.
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Elixir Securities' analyst Murtaza Jafar said equities closed marginally negative with the benchmark KSE-100 index settling at 39,244 points.
He said the market opened in the red amid dull trading. The benchmark KSE-100 index traded under pressure for most part of the day, hitting an intra-day low of 492 points.
Investors traded cautiously awaiting the mini-budget, which was due on January 23, but activity improved in the final trading hour as domestic institutions selectively bought energy and sideboard stocks. These included NetSol Technologies (+4.99%) and Honda Atlas Cars (+5%), which closed at their upper circuits.
Volume charts were again dominated by retail names including The Bank of Punjab (-1.09%), TRG Pakistan (+2.77%) and K-Electric (-2.38%). Cumulative trading in these stocks came in at 28 million shares.
"The market is expected to find immediate support around 38,800-38,700 levels, where we recommend investors to accumulate The Bank of Punjab, United Bank Limited, Lucky Cement and Hubco," the analyst added.
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Overall, trading volumes increased to 104.5 million shares compared with Wednesday's tally of 92.8 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs5.38 billion.
Shares of 332 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 144 stocks closed higher, 176 declined and 12 remained unchanged.
The Bank of Punjab was the volume leader with 10.2 million shares, losing Rs0.14 to close at Rs12.71. It was followed by TRG Pakistan with 9 million shares, gaining Rs0.66 to close at Rs24.46 and K-Electric with 8.6 million shares, losing Rs0.15 to close at Rs6.14.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs583.84 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.
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