KARACHI: Stocks once again slipped back in to red territory on Thursday as macroeconomic concerns prompted investors to book profits and remain on the sidelines.
Taking cues from the rally on Tuesday, the KSE-100 opened on a positive note following interest in oil and gas sector scrips, E&P and OMCs. International crude prices prompted investors to build positions in oil and gas chain, however, selling pressure in the later hours dragged the index lower.
The dismal data regarding oil sales and high inflation data for January continued to dent sentiments.
At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a decrease of 159.84 points, or 0.39%, to settle at 40,724.40
In a report, Arif Habib Limited stated that international crude prices prompted investors to build positions in the oil and gas chain, however, selling pressure brought prices down and the index moved downwards.
"Chemical sector performed well on the bourse, with LOTCHEM hitting the upper circuit earlier in the session (on the back of better product margins) and maintained that position throughout. EPCL, DOL and other chemical sector stocks gained traction from renewed interest by investors."
JS Global analyst Danish Ladhani said that the market remained lacklustre on back of news that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked Pakistan to take more measures to raise additional tax in the mini-budget amid lower-than-expected receipts against Rs735 billion budgetary measures.
HUBC (-2.9%), MCB (-2.0%), OGDC (-1.6%), PPL (-1.2%), PSO (-2.3%) and UBL (-0.4%) cumulatively contributed 183 points towards the negative close of the index.
"However, we expect the market to remain side-ways in the short-term on the back of uncertainty on the political front with the ongoing IMF and FATF review sessions this month," the analyst concluded.
Overall, trading volumes decreased to 127.8 million shares compared with Tuesday's tally of 146.1 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs5.86 billion.
Shares of 349 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 137 stocks closed higher, 194 declined and 18 remained unchanged.
Hascol Petroleum was the volume leader with 11.32 million shares, losing Rs1.51 to close at Rs24.18. It was followed by Lotte Chemical with 8.9 million shares, gaining Rs1 to close at Rs14.82 and Bank of Punjab with 8.3 million shares, losing Rs0.03 to close at Rs13.09.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs1.13 billion worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.
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