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KARACHI: Pakistan equities witnessed bloodbath on Monday as the benchmark KSE-100 index came crashing down by 1,096 points (2.51 per cent), recording the biggest single day decline since Dec 7, 2017. The index settled at 42,498.9 points, representing an 88-sessions low.

The stock market became one of the biggest casualty of the controversial statement by former Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif that had all the trappings of a civil-military strife.

Rumours of PM’s resignation, the possibility of delay in elections and prolonged rule of caretaker government further dented investors’ sentiments.

Major participants tried to calm the market but the investors were anxious over the MSCI results of semi-annual review due in the early morning hours on Tuesday.

As investors’ spirits remained crestfallen, by the end of trading, Rs210 billion were washed away from market capitalisation.

Among the 100 shares that form the index, just five stocks closed in the positive while 85 were in the red. Overall, as many as 84 shares hit their ‘lower circuit’ — the maximum allowable decrease of 5pc share price in a single day.

Sectors that caved in the most to selling pressure included banks, lower by 195 points, exploration and production 183 points, fertiliser 155 points, cement 133 points and oil and gas marketing companies 79 points.

Foreign selling of $2.14 million took net outflow to $8m month-to-date as uncertainty over macroeconomic and lack of near-term positive triggers led to the broader market meltdown. In the heat of panic selling, the index sank 1,136 points, but managed to claw back a little before the close.

Major contribution to the index downside came from Habib Bank, down 3.28pc, Engro Corporation 3.97pc, Pakistan Oilfields 4.66pc, Lucky Cement 3.1pc and Oil and Gas Development Company 2.23pc which together took away 326 points. On the flip side, Habib Metro, up 1.54pc, Dolmen City Reit 1.89pc and Allied Bank 0.59pc added only 11 points.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2018