The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Tuesday landed in the red, with the benchmark KSE-100 Index paring 124 points to close at 43,705.
The benchmark index opened higher to touch the day's high at 44,044 points and then slid into the red for most of the session. It touched a day's low of 43,660 points near the close of trading.
Volumes edged up, as 177.6 million shares worth Rs8.0 billion changed hands compared to 137m shares worth Rs5.9b traded in the preceding session.
Of the 357 traded scrips, 134 advanced, 201 declined and 22 remained unchanged.
A Topline Securities report held political turbulence responsible for the bearish trend prevailing at the bourse. The report cited NAB's decision to initiate an inquiry into the Chaudhary Sugar Mill scandal and to file three supplementary references against ousted premier Nawaz Sharif as the trigger behind the bearish trend.
A report issued by Elixir Securities noted that the benchmark index met some resistance at the 44K level. "The market opened on a cheerful note in line with the higher regional markets, with the cement sector leading gains on strong institutional flows following reported increase in cement prices," it read.
The index tested an intra-day high over the 44K psychological barrier, but failed to sustain that level as losses in other index heavyweights, including Habib Bank Limited (-1.6pc), MCB Bank Limited (-0.5pc), Pakistan Oilfields Limited (0.5pc) and Engro Corporation (-1.2pc) dented the index, the report read.
Later in the day, the cement sector too pared morning gains on profit-taking and closed mostly in the red, it added.
Overall, the cement sector dominated trading with 28.6m shares traded, while chemicals and engineering scrips followed with 25.9m and 18.8m shares changing hands.
Volumes were led by:
Fauji Cement: 12.1m shares traded [+1.37pc];
Unity Foods Ltd: 10.0m shares traded [+4.99pc];
Dost Steels Ltd: 9.9m shares traded [-2.61pc];
Byco Petroleum: 9.4m shares traded [+3.09pc];
Nimir Resins: 7.3m shares traded [+1.68pc].