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KARACHI: Equities came under pressure on Thursday as the deafening noise on the political front forced investors to scurry for profit-taking.

The KSE-100 index opened marginally positive, but soon succumbed to selling pressure. It closed down by 235.47 points (0.54 per cent) at 43,395.28.

Selling was witnessed across the board. Optimists like Arif Habib Securities saw it as a minor correction, but Topline Securities reckoned the index was consolidating at the current level.

The volume, although down by 2.5pc over the earlier day, remained healthy at 319 million shares, which showed that investors’ interest was intact.

Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and K-Electric took the spotlight as the former traded at its upper circuit while the latter was down on speculations about the approval of an un­­favourable multi-year tariff.

The traded value declined 12pc to Rs13.7bn.

Mutual funds were leading sellers as they sold stocks worth $8.98m. Most of them pulled out their unit-holders’ money invested in oils, financials and cements. Top five index-point decliners were Bank Al Habib, down 3.6pc, Hub Power 2.2pc, Engro Corp 1.6pc, Fauji Fertiliser 1.8pc and Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC) 0.9pc, which collectively erased 142 points from the index.

Habib Bank gained 0.7pc, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines 2.4pc, TRG Pakistan 5pc, International Industries 3.6pc and SSGC 5pc, adding 72 points to the benchmark.

Sectors contributing to a dreary performance include fertilizer, down 79 points, exploration and production 57 points, banking 46 points and power 46 points.

The exploration and production sector closed lower over the previous day as Pakistan Oilfields was down 1.26c, OGDC 0.93pc and Pakistan Petroleum 0.62pc.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2018