KARACHI: Stocks drift­­ed southwards on Tuesday after a firm start to the week the previous day. The KSE-100 index closed at 33,798 with a loss of 64 points (0.2 per cent).

The market started out on a positive note to extend the previous rally and headed up to hit intraday high by 155 points. However, investors started to book profit on strength.

With the air full of suspense over the outcome of the Azadi march, the index remained directionless as every buy order was met with a sell note. On the economic side, the International Monetary Fund revealed that core inflation would rise by 4.2pc in 2020 over 2019 while the State Bank added its piece of bad news that the real GDP growth would remain subdued for the ongoing year.

The index moved in a narrow range and retrieved some of the losses after hitting the intraday low by 146 points. Cyclicals cement and steel — favourites a day ago — lost their charm as investors were discouraged by poor results.

In early trade, blue-chip scrips on the cement sector hit upper circuit but later profit booking brought down the stock prices. Steel also faced similar fate. Explora­tion and production and oil and gas marketing companies also came under the hammer on lower international crude prices and expectations of gloomy financial results.

Banks, decreasing by 24 points, fertiliser 16 points and oil and gas marketing companies 13 points contributed the most to index downside. The volume increased 66pc to 224.8 million shares while the value traded jump­­ed by 32pc to $34.8m. Stocks that contributed significantly included Worldcall Telecom, Bank of Punjab, Pakistan International Bulk Terminal, Fauji Cement and Maple Leaf Cement, which formed 39pc of total turnover.

Blue-chip stocks contributing to the loss were Oil and Gas Development Company, down 0.70pc, Engro Corporation 0.62pc, Lucky Cement 1.25pc, Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan 5pc and Bank Al Habib 0.97pc. The fall was cushioned by increase in Pakistan Services at 4.91pc, Bankl of Punjab 5.19pc and Searle Company 3.04pc.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2019