KARACHI: The stock market remained directionless on Wednesday. The KSE-100 index finally closed with a loss of 194.97 points, or 0.47 per cent, to 41,186.86.

Investor participation was low and quick bouts of buying and selling were noticed only when a corporate result was declared. The companies unveiled mixed bag of financial results for the third quarter and nine-months of the year 2020.

The index sprang to intra-day high by 305 points in the early hours. However, it succumbed to selling pressure hitting the intra-day low by 312 points.

The trading remained choppy on several counts including the slump in the global markets, the ongoing rollover week where future open interest position in October contract stood at Rs9.45 billion raising some slight concern over the investors ability to square off the positions in a day; Friday being a closed holiday.

Most local participants decided to book short-term gains, putting off fresh buying to the week ahead. Insurance companies which had been major sellers a day ago, accumulated scrips amounting to $2.90 million.

The Covid-19 monitoring body issuing caution over the second wave also discouraged investors to go long. The major issue of foreign selling persisted on Wednesday with the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Ltd posting net foreign sales in the sum of $4.08m, taking just the last three days’ outflow to $15.85m.

Analysts at Arif Habib Ltd said that the exploration & production stocks went down — with the exception of Pakistan Petroleum Ltd (PPL) — following the downtrend in international crude oil prices, which declined 2.5pc overnight. The PPL, on the other hand, saw brisk buying in the last half hour, making day’s high.

Among construction sector, Shabbir Tiles and Ceramics Ltd hit upper circuit, garnering significant trading volumes in the process, on the back of better expectation of results and surge in construction activity.

The volume declined from 481m shares to 368.4m shares (down 23pc day on day). The traded value also fell by 18pc to reach $94.3m as against $114.8m. Major scrips which pushed the index in red included Lucky Cement, down 48 points, Searle Pakistan 39 points, United Bank Ltd 30 points, Habib Bank Ltd 27 points and Pakistan Oilfields Ltd 23 points.

Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2020