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KARACHI: For the second consecutive day, bears rampaged the market knocking off 172.93 points (0.42 per cent) from the KSE-100 index which closed at 41,332.75.

Market participation was thin as local individuals and foreign investors remained engrossed in profit-booking on strength. Figures released by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan showed foreign investors absorbing all the liquidity with net buying of $3.36 million on Thursday, which took the aggregate year-to-date inflows to $35m.

Local participants remained on the sidelines in the absence of positive triggers. Some analysts pushing the theory of a major rally said that the market was merely consolidating after its YTD gains of 12pc and 6pc rise in the last 13 sessions.

The Index took off on a positive note, managing to record an intraday high of 41,606 after accumulating 100 points in the morning. But persistent profit-taking in blue-chip scrips ie oil, financials and cement dragged the index down into negative territory.

Pragmatists advised caution and to stay on the defensive as no progress was reported in talks with the International Monetary Fund while on the political front, investors feared rise in temperature after the arrest of PTI’s senior minister Aleem Khan by accountability bureau.

The volume declined 33pc to 138m shares, from 205m while traded value plunged by 39pc to $44m as against $71m. Investors’ interest shifted from main-board scrips to side-board items.

Sector-wise, commercial banks, cement and fertilisers dragged the index further down, as they chipped away 127 points. Exploration and production declined 33 points and power 29 points while engineering added 11 points.

Major declining scrips were Pakistan Petroleum, down 1.14pc, Dawood Her­cules 3.05pc, Lucky Cement 1.44pc, United Bank 1.08pc and Bank Al Habib 1.13pc, taking away 103 points. On the flip side, Searle Company, up 2pc, added 11 points.

Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2019