KARACHI: Investors awoke to the grim news on Wednesday morning that Iran had responded to the US killing of its military commander Qasem Soleimani by firing a dozen ballistic missiles at two American military facilities in Iraq.
As it stokes fears of war between US and Iran that threatens to drag the whole region into the conflict, the Pakistan stock market opened in the red. The KSE-100 index took a steep fall to intraday low of 731 points, before it recovered to positive 35 points for a brief moment. It finally settled in the red by 546.90 points (1.31 per cent) at 41,357.57.
On the domestic side, investors heaved a sigh of relief as the Senate passed the three Pakistan Services (Amendment) Bills concerning the tenure of chiefs of Army, Air Force and the Navy, as the government secured support of the two major political parties in the Opposition, setting to rest a long standing controversy.
Individuals were the major sellers of equity worth $6.33 million. The liquidity was absorbed by corporates and insurance companies. After two days of buying, foreigners also sold $0.68m of shares.
The volume increased 35pc to 280m shares with banking sector leading the table with 54.9m shares. Traded value also rose by 27pc to reach $75.4m, as against $59.2m the earlier day.
Sectors contributing to the index downside included commercial banks, decreasing by 148 points, oil and gas exploration companies 77 points, power 62 points, fertiliser 55 points and oil and gas marketing 37 points.
Oil stocks remained volatile in line sync with international prices. Pakistan Petroleum declined 2.4pc; Pakistan Oilfields fell 1.4pc and Oil and Gas Development Company shed 0.7pc.
Other major laggards were Habib Bank, down 3.8pc, Hub Power 2pc, Fauji Fertiliser 2.3pc, United Bank 0.3pc, International Steels 4.9pc, Amreli Steels 5pc and National Bank 4pc.
Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2020