KARACHI: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) failed to break the bearish spell on the first trading day of the week as the news of rise in COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns triggered panic selling.

The news regarding the COVID-19 infection rate crossing 11 percent indicates that the situation may lead to more restrictions on business and trade activities.

Karachi Share Index (KSE-100) ended the day at 1,089.83 points (2.39 percent) down at 44,431.80 points against the previous closing of 45,521.63 points. The market went as high as 45,521.36 points during intra-day trading, while recorded as low as 44,312.97 points.

Trading volume declined to 523.8 million shares today as compared to 529.2 million traded in the previous session, according to PSX website data. The daily traded value declined to Rs 23.5 billion from Rs 25.18 billion in the previous session.

“It was not expected earlier, but the COVID-19 third wave is becoming a serious issue for us now,” Khurram Schezad, CEO Alpha Beta Core said in a chat with TheCorrespondent.PK by phone.

“By looking at the news we can feel where situation is heading, and investment is very sensitive when it comes to business activities.”

The worrisome rise in COVID-19 infection and expectation of strict lockdown measures indicated by the government made investors worried about their business and trade activities, traders and analysts said.

The in-cap business activities and disturbance in the economy can overshadow the recent positive developments at least for the short-run, they added. However, the buying in dips was observed near the end of the trading day as the investors with strong holding capacity seem busy in acquiring stocks on discounted prices, they added.

The share price of Island Textile increased by Rs 150 to Rs 2,150 while Wyeth Pakistan Limited gained Rs 48.51 to Rs 984.20. On the other hand, Rafhan Maize lost Rs 349.99 today to close at Rs 9,400.01 while Nestle Pakistan lost Rs 92.50 to close at Rs 5,847.50.

With an increase in coronavirus cases in Pakistan, there are reports that the government may resort to imposing strict measures to curb the increase of cases. In the past 24 hours, the country reported over 4,500 cases. The majority of the cases were reported in Punjab, especially Lahore that has seen a positivity rate of over 20 percent.

Meanwhile, a high-level meeting is underway to decide whether a blanket lockdown will be imposed in Lahore. If imposed, the entry and exit points of Lahore will be sealed and all businesses will be shut down.

Yesterday, in the light of these cases, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had imposed a ban on all sorts of indoor and outdoor gatherings to contain the spread of the virus.


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