KARACHI: Bears prow­led the stock market for the third straight day adding to the heavy losses of 1,221 points suffered during the previous week. After a brief spurt by intraday high of 130 points, the KSE-100 index retreated and for most of the session on Monday, the market remained under selling pressure as investors had no inclination to buy at the dips.

The index subsequently dropped to intraday low by 830 points with closing seen on a loss of 752.74 points, or 1.70 per cent, at 43,548.21.

The local market moved in sync with the meltdown in global markets. The increasing Covid cases had once against forced the authorities to curb activities, reduce business timings, close down the schools and contemplate further lockdowns.

The Punjab government had taken the lead last week by keeping people indoors for longer period in some big cities where the infection rate topped double digits. Hovering between 9pc and 10pc, the infection rate in the country kept people nervous over the measures that the government could take to curb the spread of virus.

The sentiments were further dampened by the spike of cases mounting to 90,000, the highest-ever for single day in neighbouring India, leading to widespread lockdowns and night curfews.

Investors were fearful of the repeat of Feb 2020 episode when due to outbreak of the pandemic, economic activities had come to a virtual halt sending shares down in the dumps.

As the country’s imports reached 33-month high at $5.63bn in March, Pakistan’s trade deficit widened by a staggering 118pc on year-on-year basis to $3.3 billion compared to $1.5bn in March 2020.

Among other sectors, banks, cement, E & P and textiles also were badly bruised. The major scrips that dragged down the index included TRG (94 points), Systems Ltd (47 points), HBL (42 points), Lucky Cement (40 points), and UBL (32 points).

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2021

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