KARACHI: In line with the norm, the benchmark stock index shed 163 points on Thursday as a lack of triggers kept the market under pressure.
The KSE-100 index maintained a downward slide since early trading, plunging nearly 345 points during the day. A double-digit discount rate and a lack of positive triggers continued to dampen investors' confidence, which led to a lower close of the market.
Despite overall dull trading, the activity picked up following news of Supreme Court's acceptance of Rs460-billion settlement offer from Bahria Town Karachi. The announcement was followed by a sharp recovery in steel and cement sectors.
At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 163.04 points, or 0.42%, to settle at 38,384.72.
Topline Securities, in its report, stated equities continued to suffer due to absence of market-moving triggers.
"Uncertainty over the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout, expectation of higher inflation in March, further hike in policy rate (monetary policy announcement may come on March 29 or 30), local political noise and weak sentiments pushed the KSE-100 index into a range-bound choppy session," it said.
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After contributing positively and adding 46 points to the index a day ago, fertiliser companies dragged the index down by 47 points on Thursday followed by power and oil and gas marketing companies, which erased 36 and 22 points respectively from the index.
JS Global analyst Arhum Ghous said, "Going forward, we see the market remaining under pressure due to a lack of immediate positive triggers and possibility of hike in interest rate in the upcoming monetary policy."
Overall, trading volumes decreased to 81.4 million shares compared with Wednesday's tally of 83.1 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs4.2 billion.
Shares of 336 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 118 stocks closed higher, 202 declined and 16 remained unchanged.
The Bank of Punjab XD was the volume leader with 5.7 million shares, losing Rs0.22 to close at Rs13. It was followed by Pak Elektron with 4.2 million shares, losing Rs0.51 to close at Rs24.02 and Hub Power Company with 4.1 million shares, losing Rs1.67 to close at Rs77.95.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs83.7 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.