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KARACHI: Stocks plun­ged for the fourth consecutive session with the KSE-100 Index extending losses by 267.20 points (0.66 per cent) to close at 40,219.47.

The fanfare surrounding the much-awaited arrival of by the Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman and the expected announcements of significant investments failed to cheer investors. The two countries signed seven memoranda of understanding in the aggregate sum of $20 billion (Rs2.8 trillion).

The index caved in to selling pressure as the investors were spooked by the escalation in Pakistan-India tensions with the latter withdrawing the Most Favoured Nation status and slamming 200pc customs duty on all imports from Pakistan.

The market started off on a positive note and climbed to intra-day high by 168 points. In mid-day trading, the index tanked to intra-day low by 487 points, but managed to recover in the last half hour to well above the 40,000 points level.

Investor participation improved with traded volumes up by 6pc over the previous day to 99 million shares, while traded value increased by 1pc to $34m. Stocks that contributed significantly to the volumes included K-Electric, Pak Elektron, Fauji Foods Ltd, Lotte Chemical and Siddiqsons Tin Plate Ltd accounting for nearly 27pc of the total volumes.

Sector-wise, the worst performers were commercial banks, cements and fertiliser as they washed away 173 points, cumulatively. Banking sector came under selling pressure with major banks Habib Bank Ltd (HBL) and United Bank Ltd (UBL) finishing below the earlier day’s value. Among cements, D. G. Khan Cement was down 4.3pc and Maple Leaf Cement Factory 4.7pc closed near the lower circuits while Lucky Cement (LUCK) 1.7pc also closed in the red. In the fertiliser sector, Engro Corporation (ENGRO) and Fauji Fertiliser Company (FFC) lost values.

Overall, the leading losers for the day were HBL down 0.3pc, ENGRO 0.1pc, Hub Power Company 0.6pc, MCB Bank Ltd 1.0pc, FFC 0.4pc, UBL 1.3pc, LUCK 1.7pc, Bank Al Habib Ltd 0.2pc and Engro Fertiliser 0.4pc which cumulatively contributed 93 points to the index decline. On the flip side, Pakistan State Oil, up 1.50pc, added 12 points.

Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2019