KARACHI: The rally witnessed at the stock market in the previous session proved short-lived as the KSE-100 index once again drifted southwards on Thursday. The index caved in by 208.67 points (0.52 per cent) and closed at 40,071.71.

Lack of triggers, absence of positive news flow on either the economy or the political situation caused confusion amongst investors who decided to dump stocks and seek refuge in other assets; the gold gleaned as the rising prices attracted buyers.

The market started trading sideways and the index surged initially to touch intra-day high by 137 points, building on the momentum of the previous day. It, however, soon succumbed to selling pressure and plunged to intra-day low by 397 points.

Investors who had received the United Bank Ltd (UBL) and Habib Bank Ltd (HBL) accounts with great fervor the other day, chose to look hard at the detailed figures and were concerned over provisions, which caused buyers of the previous day to sell on Thursday with UBL hitting the lower circuit-- a full circle turnaround from upper circuit that it had hit the previous day.

HBL also came under pressure and dropped towards its lower lock.

Traded volumes declined from 132 million shares to 103m shares (down 22pc DoD). Traded value also dropped 9pc to reach $43.5m. Sector-wise, power generation and distribution, commercial banks and fertiliser dragged the index down as they chipped away 197 points cumulatively. Cements and auto sectors together contributed 43 points to support the index.

Mixed sentiments were witnessed in the cement sector where Lucky Cement (LUCK) closed in the green while D. G. Khan Cement ended in red. Kohat Cement hit its upper circuit after reporting 1HFY19 earning per share at Rs4.97.

Among scrips, UBL was down 5pc, Hubco Power 4.2pc, HBL 3pc, Kot Addu Power Company 5pc, Engro Corporation 0.3pc and Engro Fertiliser 0.6pc were top laggards that cumulatively took away 258 points at the close. On the flip side, Bank Al Habib Ltd was up 3.32pc, MCB Bank 1.99pc and LUCK 1.12pc added 92 points.

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2019