KARACHI: Stocks fell on the last trading day of the week when the KSE-100 index bled 353.52 points (0.87 per cent) and closed at 40,187.18.

The flattish end to the market a day earlier suggested lull before the storm. The index made intra-day low by 414 points.

On the news front, the central bank said its foreign exchange reserves had climbed to their highest level in more than two-and-a-half years. During October, textile exports increased by 6pc year-on-year to $1.29 billion, which should have rekindled investors’ hopes of a quick economic recovery but that failed to catch investor interest who seemed scared over reports of highest single-day spike in coronavirus cases in five months.

The other lurking concerns ahead was the stand-off between the government and the opposition alliance, each adamant on blocking and holding of the rally in Peshawar on Sunday.

Other matters that caused uncertainty were the State Bank of Pakistan monetary policy to be announced on Monday. The market consensus was of a status quo but no one could rule out surprises. Finally, the equities were likely to remain under pressure in the next being a rollover week.

Traded volumes stood about unchanged over the previous day at 189.9 million shares against 188.5m shares while traded value declined by 6pc to $47.1m against $50m on Thursday.

Stock strategist Maaz Mulla at JS Global said that the selling pressure was witnessed in cements where Lucky Cement was down 1.3pc, Maple Leaf Cement Factory, down 3.5pc, Cherat Cement Company 1.7pc, D. G. Khan Cement 1.3pc, Pioneer Cement 1.1pc and Power Cement 3.4 were the major losers.

Buying activity was witnessed in the textile sector on the back of a potential new textile policy. Nishat Mills Ltd was up 1.3pc, Gul Ahmed Textile Mills 1.2pc and Interloop Ltd 4.0pc were the major movers of the sector.

The exploration & production stocks made an attempt at recovery but closed in the red, regardless of the spike in international crude oil prices. Stocks that together pulled down the index by 152 points included Dawood Hercules, Habib Bank Ltd, LUCK and TRG Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2020