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KARACHI: The market turned volatile on Thursday as market participants tracked the news on the National Investment Trust-led, government guaranteed Stock Market Support Fund. The KSE-100 index closed with a minor gain of 15.36 points (0.04 per cent) at 35,974.79.

Buoyed by the reported higher than expected allocation to the two support funds — the State Enterprise Fund and the Equity Market Opportunity Fund, the bulls kept up the gaining momentum in early trade. The market opened in the positive and climbed to intraday high by 578 points within the first 15 minutes of trading.

But the short sellers went about spreading rumours of funds failing to seek a nod from the Economic Coordination Committee though at mid-day reports of approval of Rs25 billion brought relief to the market. Meanwhile investors continued to book profit which saw the index concede all of the day’s gains and spiral downwards as quickly as it had gone up.

The index hit the intraday low by 304 points as investors did not return to take fresh positions due to the futures rollover the pressures and with only one session (on Monday) remaining before the market closure for Eid festivities. The upcoming budget on June 11 — soon after Eid holidays — widely supposed to be carrying harsh budgetary measures also forced the investors to remain at bay.

Sector-wise, investors opted to book profit in cement where major players lost ground. Among scrips, principal gainers were Bank Al Habib, up 2.42pc, United Bank 1.33pc, National Bank 3.06pc, Meezan Bank 1.70pc and Pakistan State Oil 3.11pc. On the other hand, Fauji Fertiliser 2.51pc, Engro Corporation 1.35pc, Fauji Cement 4.09pc, DG Khan Cement 2.76pc, Hub Power 1.98pc and Nishat Mills 4.95pc were major laggards.

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2019