KARACHI: Stocks extended the rally to the first day of the trading week as the KSE-100 index opened in the green and gathered 455 points that pushed it through the 46,000 barrier to the day’s highest at 46,109.

The index breached the 46,000 level for the first time in 20 months. But at that high point, investors were taken over by the fear of a correction which induced them to book profit. The index thus succumbed to growing selling pressure where shares across the board started to retreat that sent the benchmark scurrying down to wash away all the day’s gain and touch intraday low by 125 points in the red.

However, some select buying near the end of the session saw the index recover, yet close with a loss of 48.92 points or 0.11 per cent at 45,605.42.

With the end to the protests over Quetta killings over the week and a prolonged silence on the political front, there were no major local negative issues. The improved economy figures and the diminishing cases of Covid-19 in the country also provided relief. The focus thus shifted to the global adverse impact on oil prices, lockdowns and travel restriction as the pandemic continued to wreak havoc in numerous countries across the globe.

Among sectors, commercial banks which had taken a flight the previous week on investors’ anticipation of growth in profitability and dividend disbursements in the upcoming results season, remained subdued on Monday with several heavyweights losing values including Meezan Bank Ltd (MEBL), Allied Bank Ltd, United Bank Ltd (UBL) and Habib Bank Ltd.

Foreign investors were net buyers of stocks worth $1.29 million. Traded volumes declined 16pc over the previous session to 588m shares. Sectors which were a drag on the index included banks, technology, textile and exploration & productions.

Scrips that pulled down the index included UBL 23 points, MEBL 20 points, Pakistan Petroleum Ltd 15 points, TRG Pakistan 12 points, and MCB Bank Ltd 11 points.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2021

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