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KARACHI: Stocks tur­ned volatile on Tuesday as the investors were caught between fear of the spillover of panic selling a day earlier over the utterance of the former PM and the investors’ greed to buy blue-chip scrips that had receded to attractive valuations. The index witnessed trimmed losses of 39.33 points (0.09 per cent) to close at 42,459.53.

The market opened cautiously on the positive side and clawed up to intraday high of 107 points. But with the air full of mystery and uncertainty, investors deci­ded to retrace their steps, sparking another bout of selling which dragged it down by intraday low of 650 points. However, sanity began to be restored and the excitingly cheap valuations put a floor under further fall. For the rest of the day, the index cautiously climbed back.

Although small investors, having already burnt their fingers, stayed away, brisk activity was noted in index heavyweights Habib Bank, United Bank, MCB Bank, DG Khan Cement and Map­le Leaf Cement. Besides, Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC) and Pakistan Oilfields (POL) also responded to increase in crude oil prices.

The figures released by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan showed lack of confidence among the foreign investors who sold stocks worth $10.5 million, followed by mutual funds at $7.2m, ostensibly to meet redemption requests. But banks and high-net-worth value investors absorbed much of the selling by picking up quality shares valuing at $7.2m and $6.6m, respectively.

The volume improved 3pc over the previous day to 181m shares while the traded value also increased 22pc to Rs8.7 billion. Declining sectors included oil and gas marketing companies, lower by 28 points, exploration and production 21 points, banks 21 points, food 77 points and tobacco 23 points.

Among individual stocks, contribution to the index downside came from Nestle Pakistan, down 5pc, Lucky Cement 1.68pc and Pakistan Petroleum 1.03pc, taking away 135 points. On the flip side, OGDC, up 1.24pc, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines 3.25pc and POL 1.06pc added 59 points.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2018