KARACHI: The fascinating surge in stock values witnessed in the preceding two sessions came to a halt by the close of the market on Wednesday as the KSE-100 index lost 99.81 points, or 0.21 per cent, to close at 46,768.14.

The market took off to a storming start as the investors were excited over reports of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Pakistan having reached a staff-level agreement over measures to complete second to fifth review of IMF Extended Fund Facility of $6bn.

The IMF review had fallen in the hands of the market a day earlier but after the close of trading which is why the index saw hefty early day gains with the index hitting intraday high by 438 points to 47,306 points.

The second major positive was the optimistic view by the Finance Division to meet the remaining 40pc of budgeted petroleum levy target by the end of FY21. In the latter hours, the index took a turnaround and prices across the board fell like ninepins as investors rushed to book profit at the high levels.

According to figures released by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan, the major sellers were insurance companies that liquidated positions amounting to $2.84m; brokers sold shares of $1.13m and banks which dumped stocks worth $4.07m.

However, liquidity was mopped up by companies, individuals and mutual funds. Foreign selling stood at $0.72m.

The trading volume increased 36pc over the previous day to 701.8m shares.

The reason that investors mood turned sour was the release of financial results by a major bank that showed ‘lower-than-expected’ dividend. Shares started to be sold across the board which wiped off the day’s gains and the index dipped to intraday low by 141 points. Heavy profit-booking was observed in cement, steel and power sectors.

Sector-wise banks fell 145 points; E&P gave up 28 points and automobile assemblers 26 points. Stocks that wiped out most points from the index included HBL (130 points), OGDC (23 points), PAKT (19 points), DGKC (18 points) and Hubco (16 points).

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2021

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