Shares at the Pakistan Stock Exchange ended the day in the red on Wednesday with the benchmark KSE-100 index shedding 661.3 points, or 1.51 per cent, to close at 43,221.78 points.
The day began on a good note with shares rising 290 points in the first hour of trading to reach an intra-day high of 44,172.74 at 9:49am.
But by noon, the market began sliding gradually, and after the 3pm the decline became quite rapid. At 3:27pm, the benchmark index had shed 803 points before recovering slightly to close 661 points down.
Speaking to Dawn.com, Topline Securities CEO Mohammad Sohail said investors were worried over the controversy surrounding the appointment of the Inter-Services Intelligence chief.
"An uncertain political situation could further bring down the stock market," he said.
Ahsan Mehanti from Arif Habib Corporation said stocks fell across the board on investor concerns for global equity sell off and rising inflation amid slump in rupee.
"Uncertainty over outcome of ongoing Pak/IMF talks under EFF [Extended Fund Facility] and economic uncertainty amid surging trade deficit, bond yields played a catalyst role in the bearish close," he said.
Last week, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had announced that Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum had been appointed the new ISI chief. Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, formerly the ISI director general, was posted as the Peshawar corps commander.
However, despite the passage of days following the ISPR announcements, a notification confirming Lt Gen Anjum’s appointment as the new DG ISI has not been issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.
At the same time, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin is currently in Washington for policy-level talks with the International Monetary Fund.
At the technical-level discussions, which concluded last week, the Fund’s officials were not happy with Islamabad’s U-turn on its commitments made in March 2021 related to the withdrawal of sales tax exemptions, increase in personal income tax rates and increase in power tariff in June or July.
The dollar also continues to soar against the rupee despite a number of measures taken by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to cool down the demand for the greenback.
On Tuesday, currency dealers in the interbank market said the dollar was traded as high as Rs171.13 during the session. However, it closed at Rs171.04, the SBP said.
Additional input by Talqeen Zubairi