KARACHI: Pakistan’s Stock Exchange (PSX) remained under a bearish spell for the third day in a row, as the fear of the spread of COVID-19 infection rate and implementation of blanket lockdown made investors lighten their portfolios.

The Karachi Share Index (KSE-100) lost 22.85 points (0.5%) after closing at 44,706.76 points, against the previous closing of 44,929.61 points. The market went as high as 44,929.61 points during intraday trading, while recording as low as 44,360.51 points.

Trading volume declined to 240.4million shares today, as compared to 328.9m traded in the previous session, according to PSX’s website data. The daily traded value declined to Rs11.7billion from Rs15.8bn in the previous session, the
data said.

The statements by the government and the statistics regarding COVID-19 infection spread in Pakistan are alarming and the investors are very sensitive regarding the issue, traders and analysts said. No matter what the economic and business numbers are projecting the health and curbs on social activity haunts the market most, they added.

“I appeal to all that if we don’t take precautions then we are on the path of becoming India within two weeks,” Prime Minister Imran Khan said while addressing the meeting regarding the COVID-19 situation in Pakistan. “Currently we don’t have as bad conditions as India does because a year back we had raised the capacity of the hospitals,” he added.

“If our circumstances become the same as India, then we will have to close down cities. We can’t do that because, as experience has shown, the poor suffer the most when lockdowns are imposed,” he said, adding that lockdown will affect the poor segments of society.

Meanwhile, Pakistan reported 144 deaths and at least 5,870 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, said the NCOC in it daily statement on Friday.

The share price of Gatron Ind. increased byRs33.35 to Rs478.08, while Mehmood Textile gained Rs30.08 to Rs490.08. On the other hand, Colgate Palmolive lost Rs208.99 today to close at Rs2,590.01, while Wyeth Pakistan Limited lost Rs30.06 to close at Rs929.95.

The author is a senior business and economy journalist . He has worked for leading local and international news organisations.

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