KARACHI: Following the massive decline a day ago, the stock market extended its fall, though at a slower pace on Tuesday. The KSE-100 index dropped 285.28 points (0.73 per cent) and settled below the 39,000-level at 38,858.
As an uneasy calm prevailed at the market, the index opened in the red by 105 points but managed to surge in the green reaching the intraday high by 104 points. The positive trend remained for a short while as value hunters’ cherry picked blue chips available at attractive levels.
The benchmark could not hold on to the higher level and gave way to more selling pressure mainly from foreigners. International fund managers, who have been reducing their portfolio across the South East Asian markets, sold shares worth $5.50 million at the PSX.
During the remaining trading hours, the index could not skip out of the red and touched intraday low by 285 points. The scare of the coronavirus subsided a bit which encouraged investors to hold on to their portfolios.
Among local participants, mutual funds switched from equity to money market but banks, individuals and insurance companies carefully took fresh positions in defensive stocks. The volume declined 14pc to 124.3m shares while traded value edged higher by 8pc to Rs5.96 billion. Stocks that contributed significantly included Unity Foods, Bank of Punjab, Hascol Petroleum, K-Electric and Maple Leaf Cement, which formed a third of the aggregate turnover.
Sector-wise, exploration and production, banks, and oil marketing companies largely faced selling pressure, whereas buying interest was witnessed in cement where DG Khan, Maple Leaf, Pioneer, Cherat and Lucky were the major movers. Most other sectors contributed to the index downside banks lost 116 points, exploration and production 81 points, fertiliser 47 points, tobacco 34 points and power 28 points.
Among scrips, major laggards for the day were United Bank, down 3pc, Pakistan Petroleum 2.9pc, Engro Corporation 2.2pc, Habib Bank 1.6pc, MCB 2pc and Oil and Gas Development Company 1.9pc.
Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2020