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KARACHI: Stocks accelerated decline on Friday with investors showing lack of trading interest as the volume turned out to be month’s low at 74 million shares. The KSE-100 index sank 343.87 points (0.88 per cent) and closed at 38,950.23.

Lack of triggers, economic malaise and delay in Inter­national Monetary Fund package kept investors’ buying in check. Traders also had an eye on the geopolitical situation, though they were somewhat relieved by the tone-down in hostilities and Saudi Arabia’s assurance to Pakistan of its complete support in seeking peaceful settlement of all outstanding disputes with India.

The index slumped to intraday low by 427 points as investors reduced positions ahead of the weekend. Selective buying in the second session saw it recover lightly due to net buying of $1.41m worth stocks by banks and development financials. Other institutional and foreign investors generally remained on the sidelines. Risk-averse individuals opted to book profit which pushed the market to close in red.

The volume was scarcely noticeable at 74m shares, down from 83m a day earlier. WorldCall Telecom, Bank of Punjab and Pakistan Stock Exchange stocks were the leaders with cumulative 34pc of the day’s turnover.

Automobile sector was again in the lead after the passage of supplementary budget by the National Assembly, allowing non-filers to purchase locally manufactured vehicles irrespective of engine capacity. Honda Cars and Indus Motors hit their upper circuit’ while Pak Suzuki also gained 3.41pc. Cement came under the hammer where Pioneer, Maple Leaf, DG Khan and Lucky Cement lost values. Exploration and production heavyweights also stepped down due to weakness in international oil markets.

Scrip wise major fall was seen blue-chip stocks due to heavy selling. Engro Corporation, lower by 1.84pc, Hub Power 2.07pc, MCB 1.92pc, Pakistan Petroleum 1.17pc, Lucky Cement 1.56pc, Oil and Gas Development Company 0.86pc, Pakistan Oilfields 1.29pc and Fauji Fertiliser 0.98pc were all losers.

Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2019