Bears maintained their stranglehold on the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Friday, as the benchmark KSE-100 index registered a plunge of 777 points mainly owing to a deteriorating macroeconomic outlook.

Persistent disturbance on the country’s political scene took its toll on investor interest as the index remained in the negative territory throughout the day and closed the week in the red.

Moreover, continuous slide in the rupee’s value against the US dollar, which touched a new record low at Rs180.57 in the inter-bank market, haunted the trading environment, as market players rushed to book profit across the board.

Earlier, the trading session commenced with a slump as the benchmark index dived to around 43,185 points in initial trading.

However, the index managed to recoup some of the losses soon after owing to value hunting by investors and closed first half of the session at 43,423 points.

Later, the index resumed its southward journey again in a gradual manner, touching intra-day low of 42,991 points before the final hour. However, it managed to end just above the 43,000-point barrier due to a brief late-session buying spell.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a plunge of 777.26 points, or 1.77 percent, to settle at 43,029.97 points.

Topline Securities, in its report, said that pressure was observed in the market during the last trading session of the week.

“This could largely be attributed to an increase in political noise as a few members of the ruling party have said that they may vote against the prime minister under the no-confidence motion,” it said.

“Apart from this, FTSE rebalancing (where Sui Northern Gas Pipelines, Kot Addu Power Company and Fauji Cement are excluded from the FTSE Small Cap Index) added further pressure in the last hour of trading, as the index declined to settle at 43,030 points,” Topline said.

United Bank Limited, Systems Limited, Pakistan Petroleum Limited, Habib Bank Limited and TRG Pakistan led the decline as they cumulatively drove down the index by 365 points, it added.

A report of Arif Habib Limited stated that a “bloodbath session” was witnessed due to political uncertainty and devaluation of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar.

In the first half, a dull session was observed while during the second half across-the-board selling was noted due to last working day of the week. Moreover, foreign activity was witnessed due to FTSE rebalancing, the report said.

Sectors contributing to the performance included banks (-158.3 points), technology (-150.3 points), exploration and production (-140.4 points), cement (-113.1 points) and oil marketing companies (-54.3 points).

JS Global analyst Mubashir Anis Naviwala said that the downtrend continued on Friday as the benchmark index closed in the red due to uncertainty about the political situation. “Profit-taking was witnessed across the board,” he said.

WorldCall Telecom (-4.5 percent), Ghani Global Holdings (-6.2 percent), K-Electric (-3.3 percent), Telecard Limited (-7.7 percent) and TRG Pakistan (-6 percent) cumulatively contributed 25 percent to the total volumes.

“Going forward, we expect range-bound activity in the market and recommend investors to avail any downside as an opportunity to buy in banking and exploration and production sectors,” the analyst said.

Overall trading volumes increased to 180.4 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 148.5 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs6.4 billion.

Shares of 335 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 64 stocks closed higher, 256 declined and 15 remained unchanged.

WorldCall Telecom was the volume leader with 13.5 million shares, losing Rs0.07 to close at Rs1.5. It was followed by Ghani Global Holdings with 10.1 million shares, losing Rs0.93 to close at Rs14.14 and K-Electric with 8.8 million shares, losing Rs0.1 to close at Rs2.92.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs471.6 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.


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