KARACHI: The stock market opened on a positive note on Monday as investors started to accumulate stocks that had dropped to attractive valuations. Buying was witnessed in early hours in the construction, exploration & production and banks that investors thought would come up with healthy results as the later part of the week would witness financial results in full bloom.

However, the sentiments shifted from greed to fear, which saw the KSE-100 index lose 120 points, or 0.25 per cent, to close at 47,673 points.

The major worry was the outburst of the Delta variant which had already prompted the Sindh government to put strict restrictions in place. From Monday shops and shopping malls would close at 6pm in the evening; a complete ban has been imposed on indoor and outdoor dining in restaurants; no more wedding festivities and the closure of educational institutions.

The devastation to industry, business and markets caused by the first wave was still fresh in memory. Traders said that investors were still digesting the higher than expected current account deficit numbers and the steep fall in rupee.

There was consensus on no change in the policy rate in the Monetary Policy Statement to be unveiled by the SBP on Tuesday but investors regarded discretion to be better part of valour. As a result, the market made an intraday high of 137 points to reach slightly short of the 48,000 level, before coming under strong selling pressure.

Foreign investors sold shares worth $1.25m. Among local participants, mutual funds were major sellers of shares valued at $6.12m while individuals cherry-picked scrips worth $5.66m.

Sector-wise, technology and textile sectors saw nominal profit booking but cements, steel, E&P, O&GMCs and banks contributed negatively to the index.

Scrip-wise, lead gainers were Engro Corp (36 points), MCB Bank (24 points), EFERT (24 points), Systems Ltd (13 points) and TRG (13 points).

The trading volume jumped 43pc from the previous session to 450m shares. Side-board items including WTL, TELE, TPL, ASC and Byco contributed as much as half to the turnover.

Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2021

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