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KARACHI: After accumulating stocks for three consecutive sessions, investors decided to put off fresh buying and pocket profits on Wednesday. The KSE-100 Index shed 108.71 points (0.26 per cent) and closed at 41,505.68. The market got off to a weak start and remained volatile with the index touching intra-day high and low by 153 and 197 points respectively.

Foreign investors mopped up all the selling by local individual and institutions with surprise heavy net buying of stocks worth $6.4 million. According to figures released by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan, except for the insurance companies which made net purchases of $2.4m, all local institutions and individuals resorted to profit taking.

A major stock broker stated that the nervousness of the local players was stoked by reports implying further delay in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package as the Finance Minister Asad Umar had told Prime Minister Imran Khan that the deal which IMF had put on the table was not in the interest of Pakistan as it embodied stringent measures to solve the external issues, that would unduly burden the vulnerable population and further strain the economy.

Volumes declined 19pc from the last session’s 254m shares to 205m. Average traded value remained largely the same at $71m. Volume leaders included Fauji Cement Company, Maple Leaf Cement, D.G. Khan Cement, Bank of Punjab, Pakistan International Bulk Terminal and Parvez Ahmed Securities Ltd, which contributed a quarter to the total volumes.

Sector-wise, the worst performers were banks and exploration and production stocks taking away 101 points and 38 points from the index respectively. On the other hand, fertiliser sector was the lone major gainer of 56 points. Scrip-wise, major contribution to the index downside came from Habib Bank Ltd down 1.29pc, Pakistan Petroleum Ltd 1.07pc, Oil and Gas Development Company 1.15pc, Bank Al Habib Ltd 1.61pc and United Bank Ltd 1.02pc which collectively took away 116pts. On the flip side, Fauji Fertiliser Company added 1.72pc and Engro Fertiliser 1.82pc to their stock prices.

Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2019