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KARACHI: Stocks continued their losing streak for third session in a row with the KSE-100 index closing down by 102.06 points (0.30 per cent) at 34,088.56.

The index opened on a positive note but succumbed to heavy selling pressure in banks, oil and gas marketing companies, tobacco, power and food sectors. It spiralled downwards to intraday low by 459 points but cherry-picking in the last hour enabled the index to manage some recovery.

Absence of market-moving triggers, nervousness over the Financial Action Task Force blacklisting, surging inflation due to increase in prices of gas and electricity and the massive devaluation of rupee during the trading session, all dampened investor sentiments who took flight out of stocks and sought to put money in currency and gold. Besides dismal scenario on the economy, the growing noise on the political front unnerved investors.

Cement sector remained under pressure throughout the day, which was caused by a host of reasons including the recent gas tariff hike by the government. In financials, Habib and United Bank closed in the red. Exploration and production sector was mixed with Oil an Gas Development Company and Pakistan Oilfields closed in the green and Pakistan Petroleum ending in negative.

The volume increased 9pc to 158.6 million shares, from 144.9m while traded value also grew by 18pc to $30m as against $25.5m. Analysts at Arif Habib stated: “Majority of the traded volume today and yesterday has been repo-reverse repo transaction, which is a highlight of June end.”

Major drag to the index were Habib Bank, decreasing by 2.66pc, United Bank 1.65pc, Habib Metro 3.38pc, Pakistan State Oil 2.43pc, Pakistan Petroleum 0.56pc, Mari Petroleum 1.83pc, Engro Corporation 0.62pc and DG Khan Cement 2.60pc.

On the flip side, a late session buying in Pakistan Tobacco, up 4.05pc, Hub Power 1.31pc, Pakistan Petroleum 1.39pc and Nestle Pakistan 1.70pc helped support the index from further fall.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2019