KARACHI: Stocks lost further ground on the first day of week of losing streak as investors’ worries were fuelled by the developments in Indian-held Kashmir. The BJP’s constitutional amendment relating to Kashmir and cross-border firing into Pakistan heightened tensions between the two countries.

The KSE-100 index sank 485.61 points (1.53pc) to close at 31,180.80 as the market capitalisation was eroded by Rs66 billion. The index tanked intraday by 688 points and even briefly breached the 31,000 support level.

Investor sentiments are at a new low in the absence of market-moving triggers and encouraging news on the economic front. The finance minister’s promise of market support fund of $20bn still remains elusive as the government has been tied down by the Inter­national Monetary Fund’s restriction on issuance of sovereign guarantees.

The volume increased 12pc to 52 million shares, from 46.5m while traded value registered a decline of 12pc to reach $11.3m. Foreign investors stood on the sidelines while pressure on redemptions forced mutual funds to sell equity worth $1.17m.

Stocks bled across the board with banks taking brunt of the blow contributing the highest 152 points to the index fall as Habib Bank, MCB closed in the negative and United Bank hit the lower circuit breaker. On the exploration and production sector, all three major stocks — Pakistan Petroleum, Pakistan Oilfields and Oil and Gas Dveelopment Company — ended in red. In cement, Lucky, Fauji, DG Khan and Maple Leaf were the major laggards while fertiliser stocks stood impaired with Engro and Fauji closing down.

Top losers were United Bank, down 4.87pc, MCB 2.70pc, Habib Bank 2.09pc, Bank Alfalah 2.83pc, Mee­zan Bank 1.97pc, National Bank 2.87pc, Pakistan Pet­ro­­leum 2.30pc, Oil and Gas Development Company 1.07pc, Pakistan Oilfields 1.51pc and Pakistan State Oil 1.68pc. Additional pressure was created by fall in Engro Corporation, lower by 1.49pc, Engro Fertilisers 1.26pc, Thal Ltd 5pc and Lucky Cement 0.95pc.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2019