KARACHI: The stock market continued to remain under pressure on Thursday as the benchmark index finished its second successive session in the red due to a lack of triggers.
The KSE-100 index dropped over 200 points in early hours of trading after investors opted to stay on the sidelines. A lack of clarity in talks with the International Monetary Fund added to the bearish sentiment.
Despite dull trading volumes, the market saw some recovery as the index started gaining ground. However, it failed to generate enough momentum to finish the day in the positive zone.
At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 37.13 points, or 0.09%, to settle at 40,506.98.
Elixir Securities’ analyst Muhammad Arbash said equities closed marginally negative amid dull volumes. “A mixed trend was witnessed during the day where cement stocks remained the major laggards as local investors booked profits,” he said.
DG Khan Cement (-4.55%) and Maple Leaf Cement (-4.87%) traded near their lower price limits.
Index heavyweights financial and energy sectors provided support to the KSE-100 index as United Bank Limited (+2.59%), Pakistan Petroleum Limited (+0.67%), Habib Bank Limited (+0.66%) and Pakistan Oilfields Limited (+0.93%) posted gains.
“We expect the market to find support at 40,100. With IMF negotiations at the fore, related developments will determine the course of market direction,” he added.
Overall, trading volumes decreased to 123.62 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 160.24 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs6.3 billion.
Shares of 339 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 138 stocks closed higher, 183 declined and 18 remained unchanged.
Lotte Chemical was the volume leader with 25.6 million shares, losing Rs0.33 to close at Rs16.65. It was followed by DG Khan Cement with 8.8 million shares, losing Rs4.59 to close at Rs96.23 and Fauji Cement with 5.9 million shares, losing Rs0.81 to close at Rs22.51.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs360.85 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.