KARACHI: Bears dominated the stock market on Monday as the benchmark index fell for the fourth successive session, losing nearly 670 points in intra-day trading. It, however, recouped some of the losses later, but still ended the day deep in the red.
The market opened upwards, but soon after selling pressure dragged the index into the negative territory. Investor sentiments were weak as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) remained unyielding on its tough conditions for giving Pakistan a bailout package.
Additionally, the announcement by Moody's rating agency about downgrading Pakistan's banking system outlook also dented sentiments.
At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 560.82 points, or 1.37%, to settle at 40,326.53.
JS Global analyst Danish Ladhani said the bourse remained volatile as the KSE-100 hit high and low of +189 and -669 points respectively with very low volumes.
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"On the economic front, Prime Minister Imran Khan held meetings with top officials of the UAE government as well as the IMF at the 7th World Government Summit where it is believed, despite all positive vibes, nothing concrete has been revealed regarding specifics of a new IMF programme," the analyst commented.
Major sectors dragged the market down where top stocks such as Habib Bank (-2.5%), Pakistan Petroleum (-1.1%), Engro (-0.6%), Oil and Gas Development Company (-1.6%), MCB Bank (-1.6%), Fauji Fertiliser Company (-1.2%), United Bank (-2.1%), Lucky Cement (-2.6%), Pakistan Oilfields (-1.4%) and Bank AL Habib (-1.1%) cumulatively erased 273 points from the KSE-100 index.
Among cement stocks, Lucky Cement (-2.6%) and DG Khan Cement (-1.5%) were major laggards despite a drop in international coal prices.
In the fertiliser sector, Engro (-0.6%) and Fauji Fertiliser Company (-1.2%) remained in the red. However, the government has waived 50% of gas infrastructure development cess (GIDC) payables for the fertiliser sector, independent power producers (IPPs), power generation companies and general industry, including captive power units.
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"Going forward, we expect the market to remain volatile and choppy in the upcoming session. However, sentiments are expected to remain positive in the long run while short-term profit-taking is expected at these levels," the analyst said.
Overall, trading volumes decreased to 134.4 million shares compared with Friday's tally of 169.1 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs6.3 billion.
Shares of 340 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 59 stocks closed higher, 264 declined and 17 remained unchanged.
K-Electric was the volume leader with 15.5 million shares, losing Rs0.14 to close at Rs6.24. It was followed by Dewan Motors with 8.1 million shares, losing one rupee to close at Rs16.60 and Pak Elektron with 7.9 million shares, losing Rs1.10 to close at Rs26.19.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs233.9 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.
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