KARACHI: On the first trading day of the week the KSE-100 index fell by 208.43 points, or 0.46 per cent, to close at 44,978.05.

Encouraged by the previous week’s recovery, the market opened in the positive and added another 81 points. However, the gains proved short-lived as panic gripped the market over the higher incidence of Covid-19 cases. Rising virus severity with more than 5,000 new infections in a single-day sent investors scurrying to sell across the sectors. Traders said that the possibility of imposition of lockdown in the light of NCOC proposal triggered major sell-off midday.

The market remained in the selling mode for most of the day with the index making intraday low by 428 points. In the heat of the moment, investors ignored the improving economic indicators. Remittances exceeded $2bn for the 10th consecutive month and stood at $2.7bn for the month of March, representing growth of 44pc year-on-year and 20pc month-on-month, providing further strengthen on external front.

Kohat Cement and PTCL kick-started the results season, which provided investors something to take their minds off the Covid for brief moment. Sector-wise the major losers were O&GMCs (36 points), banks (32 points), pharma (26 points), chemicals (23 points) and cement (23 points).

Scrip-wise, the biggest losers were Engro (44 points), PSO (25 points), OGDC (22 points), Searle (21 points) and UBL (16 points).

On the flip side, TRG, Fauji Fertiliser, MCB Bank, Engro Fertiliser and Lucky Cement provided some support to the index.

The trading volume declined 27pc to 504m shares from 688m shares. The traded value also dipped by 21pc to reach $130.7m as against $165.9m.

Major selling was noted by companies, insurance companies and banks.

Individuals and other organisations mopped up much of the liquidity. Going forward analysts said that while Covid-19 and the government’s attempt to grapple with the situation would determine the market direction, the release of corporate results could attract investor interest. However, the trading volume is likely to take a dip during Ramazan starting this week.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2021

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