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KARACHI: Stocks took another beating on Thursday with the KSE-100 index plunging by 1,051 points (2.38 per cent) to settle at 43,136.

The traded volume declined more than 10pc from the preceding day to 167 million shares while the value shrank 14.4pc to Rs8.8 billion.

Brokerage analysts continued to blame the enduring slide in the stock market on anxiety growing out of the political situation.

“Sentiments were primarily dented on news that the country’s apex anti-corruption organisation has summoned the sacked premier and his sons for interrogation related to Panama allegations,” analysts at Elixir Securities wrote in an evening note to clients.

Blue-chip stocks across major sectors lost value because of selling by institutional investors as well as brokerage houses’ own trading desks.

Data compiled by National Clearing Company of Pakistan Ltd showed foreigners were net sellers of $3.2m worth of equities. Mutual funds were the largest net sellers among local investors, in continuation of a trend that has been ongoing for the last few trading sessions. Their net sell of shares was worth $5.8m. In contrast, individuals, banks and companies remained net buyers of shares.

Speaking to Dawn, Insight Securities Executive Director for Research Zeeshan Afzal said inflows through mutual funds are not steady anymore because nervous investors are exiting the market. “Retail investors base their decisions mainly on recent market performance, which has been poor for the last many months,” he said.

The index has shed 18.4pc value since May 24 when it hit its peak of 52,876 points.

Mr Afzal said news reports about a commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan agreeing to testify against his former chief Zafar Hijazi in the ongoing record-tempering case also dampened the investors’ mood. Moreover, rumours about the break-up of the ruling political party also aggravated negative sentiments, he added.

Shares of 314 companies decreased while those of 43 companies went up.

The largest turnover was recorded in the share of Azgard Nine, a textile composite sector company. Its volume was 11.4m shares, followed by Bank of Punjab 11m shares, TRG Pakistan 9.6m shares and Aisha Steel Mills 9m shares.

According to JS Global analysts, major laggards within the KSE-100 index were Habib Bank, which went down by 3.18pc, MCB Bank 2.59pc and United Bank 1.86.

Pakistan Petroleum lost 2.24pc, Pakistan Oilfields 4.83pc and Oil and Gas Development Company 3.17pc, which cumulatively took away 143 points from the index.

From the steel sector, International Steels went down 3.65pc, followed by International Industries 2.68pc and Aisha Steel Mills 4.91pc.

Financial results posted by index heavyweights did not lift the overall market mood. Hub Power Company and Bank Alfalah declined 2.2pc and 2.5pc, respectively, after announcing their quarterly earnings report.

“We believe the political scenario... is expected to continue to affect the stock market. Moving forward, we recommend investors to stay cautious,” JS Global said in its end-of-day email to investors.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2017