KARACHI: Stocks snapped the 13-session rally on Wednesday as the KSE-100 index closed in the negative by 66.19 points (0.18 per cent) at 36,679.03.

The continuous upsurge in index since June 26, the longest bullish spell in 30 months since January 2018, saw it knocking down several barriers and accumulate 3,033 points or 9pc gains.

Market was volatile with the benchmark moving between the intraday low and high by 107 and 147 points. The positive news of prime minister’s visit and kickstarting the construction work at Diamer-Bhasha project, terming it the “biggest dam in Pakistan’s history”, was already priced into the cyclicals which is why investors’ excitement in cement was not seen.

The satisfactory declining numbers of the Covid-19 cases also failed to inspire as the investors’ attention shifted to financial results for the quarter ended June 30. Fearing coronavirus-infested poor corporate performance, most decided to book profit at current levels. PTCL unveiled its statements.

Although lower than the previous day, foreign selling stood out in the heavy sum of $4.50 million. Their outflow was mainly from the exploration and production sector amounting to $4.9m. The closest to it was net sale of $0.7m in fertiliser sector.

The volume dipped 30pc to 328.4m shares, as against 466.2m shares while traded value decreased by 23pc to $84.9m from $109.5m the previous day. Second-tier stocks were the main losers that was reflected in the market capitalisation which despite the fall, inched up by Rs8.4 billion.

Scrips that supported the index from major fall included Hub Power, up 0.9pc, Indus Motor 2.9pc, Maple Leaf 2.7pc, Pakistan Oilfields 0.9pc. The benchmark was dragged down by Sui Northern Gas, lower by 5.1pc, Engro Corporation 0.4pc and Millat Tractors 4.2pc. Profit-booking in the cement stocks was seen in Kohat, Cherat, Fauji and Pioneer.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2020