KARACHI: The stock market snapped the long spell of winning streak, giving way to profit-taking on Wednesday. The KSE-100 index retreated by 526.69 points (1.37 per cent) and closed at 38,037.68.

Some seasoned investors contended that it was a sign of relief as the index had made almost interrupted gains of a stunning 9,894 points (35pc) from the lows of 28,670 recorded in August.

“The market desperately needed some cooling, correction and consolidation, before taking another leap forward,” said several analysts.

The index opened in the positive and advanced to intraday high by 97 points, before profit-booking was triggered across the board in the lead of cement, exploration and production, oil and gas marketing companies and banks. It sent the index reeling down to intraday low of 587 points.

Politics acquired secondary importance as investors set their eyes on the monetary policy to be announced on Friday, the 22nd. Taking cue from T-bill auction that saw yields increasing further, participants rushed to book profit to preempt any change in the policy rate.

Street consensus was nonetheless of a status quo. On the news front, government approved the country’s first-ever national tariff policy aimed at removing anomalies in import duties structure.

Mutual funds led the sellers, pushing $6.09 million worth of shares in the market. The sell-off was cushioned mainly by foreigners who bought stocks of $3.28m, taking the year-to-date purchases at $78.10m. Individuals and insurance companies also picked up shares at dips.

The volume declined 15pc over the previous day to 327.4m shares, though remaining above the monthly average.

Market was dragged down mainly by heavy losses in blue-chip scrips, Habib Bank, decreasing by 2.76pc, United Bank 2.04pc, MCB 1.85pc, National Bank 3.51pc, Meezan Bank 1.71pc, Habib Metro 2.32pc, Oil and Gas Development Company 1.79pc, Pakistan Oilfields 2.30pc, Pakistan Petroleum 1.36pc, Mari Petroleum 3.37pc, Engro Corporation 2.05pc, Lucky Cement 1.75pc, Dawood Hercules 1.53pc, Fauji Cement 4.14pc and DG Khan Cement 2.07pc.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2019