KARACHI: Bears returned to the Pakistan stock market as the benchmark index spiralled downwards amid pressure on selected shares.
The KSE-100 index opened on a positive note and marched north, gaining 307 points, but the momentum could not be sustained as investors resorted to stock selling.
The selling pressure continued to mount and as a result the index slipped below the 37,000-point market. Earlier, the uptrend came on the back of a rally in the cement sector, but rumours of failure of price negotiations amongst cement manufacturers sparked panic selling by investors.
"The major sentiment dampener turned out to be the E&P (exploration and production) sector that saw heavy selling in all E&P stocks on the back of falling international crude oil prices," stated Arif Habib Limited in its report.
At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 104.36 points, or 0.28%, to settle at 37,026.27.
Topline Securities, in its report, stated that the KSE-100 index lost 104 points as investors were looking forward to tough budgetary measures that could possibly be dictated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to bring the country's economy on track.
"Hascol and Tariq Glass closed at their upper locks as both stocks beat analysts' consensus. Fauji Foods lost 3% as Inner Mongolia (Yili Group) withdrewn its intention to acquire 51% shares in the company."
Oil and gas exploration and production companies fell on account of 3.5% decline in international crude oil prices.
Overall, trading volumes increased to 177.5 million shares compared with Friday's tally of 143.9 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs6.3 billion.
Shares of 352 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 183 stocks closed higher, 150 declined and 19 remained unchanged.
Pak International Bulk Terminal was the volume leader with 14.5 million shares, gaining Rs0.96 to close at Rs10.38. It was followed by Pak Elektron with 11.5 million shares, gaining Rs1.03 to close at Rs23.19 and The Bank of Punjab XD with 10.5 million shares, losing Rs0.10 to close at Rs12.61.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs50.6 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.