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KARACHI: Stocks plunged on Monday after investors decided to take profits following uncertainty over a host of factors.

The KSE-100 index dipped 446.59 points (0.90 per cent) to close at 48,929.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan has taken stringent compliance measures that brought the in-house financing by brokers to a complete halt leading to dry up of liquidity.

Weak investors also liquidated their positions due to the future roll-over week. Corporate results announced during the day did not help either as a few big companies announced earnings that fell below market expectations.

Head of Invest and Finance Securities, Imran Ali stated that the session witnessed optimism during the initial hours, which failed to resist the bearish sentiments caused by the upcoming Panama Papers case hearing along with heightened tensions on the western border and hence swayed the market in the negative zone

Engro dec­li­ned 2.6pc, Dawood Herc­ules 4.7pc, Hub Pow­er 2.0pc, Nis­h­at Mills 4.4pc and International Steels Ltd 5pc, cumulatively ero­ding 186 points from the index.

The overall volume decreased by 7.8pc to 344 million shares and the trading value by 27.5pc to Rs14.7 billion.

Despite the sell-off 44 companies closed on their upper circuits compared to 39 closing on their lower limits.

The banking sector closed higher with sector heavy weights Habib Bank gaining 1.2pc and United Bank 1.5pc.

Profit-taking was witnessed in the cement sector, as sector heavyweights led by DG Khan Cement lost 2.0pc, Maple Leaf 2.7pc, Lucky 0.3pc and Power Cement 5.0pc.

According to Intermarket Securities, major contribution to the downside came from Engro, DAWH, HUBC, NML and ISL taking away 186 points.

HBL, UBL and MTL contributed positively and added 102 points to the index.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2017