KARACHI: Bearish spell continued for the fourth successive session at the stock market on Tuesday as the benchmark index once again slipped below 31,000 points in intra-day trading amid escalating tensions between Pakistan and India.
In the morning, trading began on a negative note as heightened tensions over Kashmir dented investor sentiments. Interest was dampened by prospects of a global slowdown amidst US-China trade war and Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.
Though late buying by institutional investors helped the index to recover but it could not be sustained. Resultantly, the index hit an intra-day low of 30,946.73 points in the last half hour of trading before closing at 31,000 points.
At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 180.13 points, or 0.58%, to settle at 31,000.67.
JS Global analyst Maaz Mulla said selling pressure continued at the bourse on the back of geopolitical tensions.
"Pakistan Army has affirmed at the Corps Commander Conference that took place on Tuesday that Pakistan firmly stands by the Kashmiris in their just struggle and is prepared and shall go to any extent to fulfil obligations. The market succumbed to the ongoing standoff on the border," he commented.
Financial stocks were the major laggards among which big banks MCB Bank (-2.5%) and UBL (-2.6%) remained in the negative territory.
Mixed sentiment was witnessed in the oil and gas sector where Oil and Gas Development Company (-0.3%) and Pakistan Petroleum Limited (-0.6%) stayed in the red but Pakistan Oilfields (+1%) moved up.
Crude oil prices rebounded in the international market after coming under pressure due to the ongoing US-China trade dispute, he added.
Moreover, mixed sentiment was seen in the cement sector where Lucky Cement (-0.4%) was the major laggard whereas DG Khan Cement (+1.2%) advanced. Furthermore, the fertiliser sector took a breather where Engro (+0.1%) and Fauji Fertiliser Company (+1.3%) remained in the green zone.
"Moving ahead, we expect the market to exhibit volatility in coming sessions due to overall ambiguity in the political environment," the analyst said.
Overall, trading volumes increased to 54.3 million shares compared with Monday's tally of 52 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs2.67 billion.
Shares of 320 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 112 stocks closed higher, 193 declined and 15 remained unchanged.
Maple Leaf Cement was the volume leader with 4.9 million shares, gaining Rs0.15 to close at Rs17.18. It was followed by K-Electric with 3.1 million shares, losing Rs0.07 to close at Rs3.22 and Hub Power Company with 2.4 million shares, losing Rs1.23 to close at Rs67.53.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs107.5 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.