Stocks hammered as KSE-100 sinks 4.53pc on fears of global meltdown

Published March 12, 2020
The KSE-100 Index fell 995 points on Thursday, just days after trading at the bloodbath was witnessed at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) — the biggest single-day decline in 10 years. — AFP/File
The KSE-100 Index fell 995 points on Thursday, just days after trading at the bloodbath was witnessed at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) — the biggest single-day decline in 10 years. — AFP/File

Shares at the Pakistan Stock Exchange took a hammering once again on Thursday, with the benchmark KSE-100 index closing 1,707 points or 4.53 per cent down, mimicking the trajectory of global financial markets after the World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic and the United States banned travel from Europe.

Earlier today, trading was halted just days after a similar measure was adopted during Monday's bloodbath, when the KSE-100 saw its biggest single-day decline in over a decade.

At around 2:15pm today, the KSE-100 index was down 3.6 per cent (1,324 points) to 36,349. At this point, trading at the PSX was halted for 45 minutes as bourse rules dictate.

According to new rules, if the KSE-30 index moves 4pc or more in any direction for a consecutive five minutes, trading is halted for 45 minutes, experts told Dawn.com. The KSE-30 was down 4.36pc or 708 points to 16,220 at 2:15pm.

When trading began a few minutes past 3pm, stocks continued their slide, with an intra-day low of 1,778 points or 4.72pc.

Speaking to Dawn.com, Deputy Head of Research at AKD Securities, Ali Asghar Poonawala, said there was a "trifecta of dampeners feeding into the negative sentiment" which was causing the market to fall.

He said the negative sentiment today was predominantly trigerred by panic falling through from regional and international markets amid the oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia and global coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

Oil prices went down further Thursday with the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude shedding 4.1pc to $31.64 per barrel.

Asian equity markets, already deep in the red in reaction to the WHO announcement officially labelling the outbreak a pandemic, cratered after US President Donald Trump banned all travel from Europe to the US for a month.

Tokyo dropped more than 5pc, while Hong Kong finished the morning down 3.8pc and Sydney collapsed almost 7pc, with Bangkok around 8pc down. Seoul, Wellington, Mumbai and Taipei were off more than 4pc, with Singapore and Jakarta shedding more than 3pc. Shanghai eased 1.3 pc.

On the domestic front, Poonawala said after the first corporation in Pakistan had reported a coronavirus case, there was also a spillover on management, which was being seen in the markets.

Additionally, he said instability in the Pakistani rupee was also playing a role, leading to a risk-off sentiment.

Elaborating, Poonawala said even in some relatively stable sectors such as banks, "a lot of profit-taking was going on".

Head of Foreign Institutional Sales at Next Capital Limited, Muhammad Faizan, told Dawn.com that the market sentiment was due to the ongoing global sell-off trigerred largely by the dip in oil prices.

"[The] overall negative sentiments across the globe [are] also prevailing in Pakistan," he said.

When asked about the impact of travel restrictions being imposed in light of coronavirus, Faizan said: "Travel restrictions don't impact markets as such, global trade disruptions impact markets."

On Monday, within just seven minutes after the opening bell, the benchmark KSE-100 index caved in by 2,106 points (5.83pc) after Saudi Arabia said it would increase its supply of oil causing global oil prices to fall by almost a third. A massive sum of Rs184 billion was wiped off the market capitalisation during the day.

The carnage at the PSX was in line with the meltdown in global markets where equities from Wall Street to the Middle East and Asia saw heavy bleeding on fears of an oil price war and coronavirus effecting a greater-than-expected slowdown in world economies.

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