Market watch: Covid-19 strain wipes out gains at PSX

Benchmark KSE-100 index falls 392.01 points to settle at 43,282.27


Our Correspondent December 29, 2020
The selling spree caused a steep decline in the market and it closed the day in negative territory. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI:

The Pakistan Stock Exchange endured a tumultuous session on Tuesday as the discovery of a new variant of Covid-19 in Pakistan dented investors’ sentiment and pulled the benchmark KSE-100 index down by 392 points.

During the trading session at the stock market, the country confirmed three cases of the new coronavirus variant, recently detected in the United Kingdom, among returnees from the European nation.

Earlier, trading began with a spike and the index maintained the momentum till midday. However, shortly afterwards, the news of discovery of Covid-19 variant in Karachi broke out and at that point, panic selling emerged as investors offloaded stocks in haste.

The selling spree caused a steep decline in the market and it closed the day in negative territory.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a decrease of 392.01 points, or 0.9%, to settle at 43,282.27 points.

Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that the market was dominated by mark-to-market activity by institutions (as Tuesday’s settlement falls on December 31) as well as partly due to profit-booking.

Stocks having high weightage in the index like Oil and Gas Development Company, Pakistan Petroleum, HBL, UBL and MCB Bank traded at or near the price levels recorded at the end of September 2020.

It said investors resorted to profit-booking in exploration and production, banking, cement, power and fertiliser sectors in a bid to buy back shares at lower rates. Cases of a new strain of the coronavirus also caused concern among investors, the report said.

Overall, trading volumes rose to 503.1 million shares compared with Monday’s tally of 463.4 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs20.96 billion.

Shares of 400 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 140 stocks closed higher, 241 declined and 19 remained unchanged.

Unity Foods was the volume leader with 41.3 million shares, gaining Rs1.1 to close at Rs31.62. It was followed by K-Electric with 38.1 million shares, losing Rs0.05 to close at Rs4.02 and Pak Refinery with 32 million shares, gaining Rs0.04 to close at Rs21.66.

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