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KARACHI: Stocks dropped on Thursday as the KSE-100 index lost 120.32 points (0.31 per cent) and closed at 38,808.61.

Due to the absence of major triggers, ambiguity on International Monetary Fund package and foreign sell-off, the market traded within a narrow band with low volume. The index oscillated between the intraday high and low by 70 and 177 points, respectively.

Later in the day, the index succumbed to selling pressure with major activity in stock of blue-chip Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC). Figures released by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan showed net selling of stocks worth a huge $8.24 million by foreign investors. Local institutions and individuals attempted to absorb the offshore sell-off in the lead of insurance companies which bought net $2.30m and individuals who picked up low-priced shares.

On the news front, rise in political temperature and the reports of non-materialisation of $3.2 billion oil facility from UAE kept investors on the sidelines. Cement sector which sustained pressures in the past days, also gave way to the selling and saw prices coming off by the end of session despite continuous decline in global coal prices. In exploration and production sector, Pakistan Oilfields and OGDC declined despite the rise of crude oil prices in the international market.

The volume declined 8pc to 86m shares while the traded value was slightly up by 2pc to reach Rs3.3bn. Small-cap scrips like Bank of Punjab, Unity Foods and Lote Chemical cumulatively contributed 40pc to the total turnover.

Sector-wise laggards were cement, banking and energy, while fertiliser and textiles generally remained strong. Stock-wise, the major contribution to the index downside came from OGDC, down 1.43pc, Lucky Cement 1.56pc, Hub Power 0.85pc, United Bank 0.77pc and DG Khan Cement 2pc taking away 82 points. On the flip side, Kohinoor Textile Mills, up 4.98pc, Fauji Fertiliser 0.50pc and Engro Fertilisers 0.69pc added 24 points.

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2019