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KARACHI: Stocks continued to bleed on Friday as the KSE-100 index shed 346 points (0.76 per cent) to close at 45,288 points.

Political noise restrained institutional investors from building fresh positions while retail investors also stood on the sidelines ahead of the long weekend (market to remain closed on Monday on account of Independence Day).

Stocks at the PSX seem to be sinking in the political quagmire with fearful upcoming episodes of PTI’s show of strength on Sunday night; cleric Tahirul Qadri’s sit-in on Wednesday in Lahore and the ongoing onslaught by a defiant former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The overall selling pressure pushed the market to new lows — well below technical support — and on the verge of lower channel support taking cumulative losses to 1,953 points from intraday high posted on Aug 4, Intermarket Securities said in its daily report.

Major contribution to the total market volume of 114 million shares on Friday came from ANL, TRG and ASL.

“Heavyweights HBL, PPL, ENGRO, PSO and OGDC were top laggards which cumulatively pulled the index down by 150.62 points.

Steel stocks, ISL and ASL, gained Rs1.89 and Rs0.29, respectively, on the back of increase in prices of their products,” noted analyst Zoha Amjad at Aba Ali Habib Securities.

MARI gained 1.08pc, TRG 1.89pc and ICI 2.37pc, adding only 23 points to the index.

Meanwhile, Engro Foods declared results on Friday posting lower-than-exp­ec­ted numbers which saw its stock hit the lower limit. HBL too traded in the red after announcing below-expected quarterly earnings.

Ahsan Mehanti at Arif Habib Corp commented that stocks closed lower amid thin trade also due to pressure in global equities on geopolitical risk. Concerns over widening trade deficit, falling foreign exchange reserves and circular debts in energy sector were sentiment dampeners at the PSX.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2017