KARACHI: The stock market failed to sustain the gains made the previous day and shed 52 points on Wednesday after a tumultuous session.
The fall came as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) asked Pakistan government to initiate steps in a bid to achieve fiscal consolidation.
Market sentiments weakened following news IMF resident representative Teresa Sanchez stated that Pakistan must take steps to curtail circular debt, increase tax revenue and adopt a market-based flexible exchange rate in order to ease its macroeconomic concerns.
Despite weak sentiments, the cement sector flourished, getting support from falling coal prices in the international market.
The KSE-100 index shot up from the moment trading began and crossed 40,800 points in initial trading, but the trend reversed towards the end of the day, led by a selling spree, which erased all the gains and dragged the market into the red zone.
At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 52.17 points, or 0.13%, to settle at 40,544.11.
Elixir Securities’ analyst Muhammad Arbash said equities closed marginally negative with the benchmark KSE-100 index settling at 40,544.
“The market kicked off on a positive note and traded in the green zone for most part of the day, but succumbed to losses in the end due to institutional selling,” he noted. “Cement stocks remained in the limelight due to receding coal prices.”
As such, Fauji Cement (+1.66%), Maple Leaf Cement (+3.74%) and DG Khan Cement (+4.91%) recorded cumulative trading in 30 million shares and featuring among top-five volume leaders.
On the results front, Allied Bank Limited (-1.19%) announced its 2018 results, declaring earnings per share of Rs11.38 along with cash dividend of Rs2 per share.
“Going forward, we remain sceptical in the near term since recovery from the recent low of 40,218 (Monday’s low) seems to be stalling at … 40,809,” the analyst added.
“Primary support is developing around 40,528 and then at 40,200. However, a continued drop below this area will be a sign of further bearish correction to 39,500/300.”
Overall, trading volumes decreased to 160.24 million shares compared with Tuesday’s tally of 165.1 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs7.27 billion.
Shares of 348 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 131 stocks closed higher, 198 declined and 19 remained unchanged.
K-Electric was the volume leader with 18.1 million shares, gaining Rs0.08 to close at Rs6.59. It was followed by Fauji Cement with 13.1 million shares, gaining Rs0.38 to close at Rs23.32 and WorldCall Telecom with 13 million shares, losing Rs0.02 to close at Rs1.56.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs360.78 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.