KARACHI: After a positive start on Wednesday, the stock market came under selling pressure as a weaker rupee and surging external debts amid uncertainty about new IMF conditions kept investors nervous as a result the benchmark KSE 100-share index closed in the red.

Cautious investors opted to stay on the sidelines as the new government was preparing to start the final IMF review under the $3bn Stand-By Arrangement, expiring next month, for the release of the remaining $1.1bn and negotiating a fresh bailout.

Ahsan Mehanti of Arif Habib Corporation the uncertainty over IMF’s new terms for a long-term Extended Fund Facility to bridge the $6bn debt servicing gap for the current fiscal year worried investors.

He, however, added that speculations ahead of the monetary policy announcement on the 18th and concerns for Pakistan’s external public debt which surged $1.2bn in six months to $86.358bn as of Sept 30, 2023 also contributed to bearish close.

Topline Securities Ltd said the equities posted an intraday high of 425 points to 66,151 on some cherry-picking, but a section of investors indulged in profit-taking towards the final hours of the session wiping out the early gains.

As a result, the KSE-100 index closed at 65,656.62 points after losing 69.42 points or 0.34 per cent from the preceding session.

The overall trading volume rose 5.83pc to 419.73 million shares. The traded value increased 10.27pc to Rs18.29bn on a day-on-day basis.

Stocks contributing significantly to the traded volume included Cnergyico PK Ltd (30.68 million shares), P.I.A.C.(A) (28.09m shares), Pakistan Refinery Ltd (28.36m shares), Telecard Ltd (25.68m shares) and Kohinoor Spinning Ltd (24.34m shares).

Shares registering the biggest increases in their share prices in absolute terms were Nestle Pakistan (Rs522.50), Unilever Pakistan Foods (Rs400), Hallmark Com­pany Ltd (Rs28.21), Mur­ree Brewery (Rs9.29) and National Refinery Ltd (Rs7.93).

Companies registering the biggest decreases in their share prices in absolute terms were Mari Petroleum Ltd (Rs53.56), Pakistan Hotels Developers Ltd (Rs39.67), Lucky Core Industries (Rs18.87), Pakistan Services Ltd (Rs15.00) and Philip Morris Ltd (Rs11.67).

Foreign investors remained net buyers as they purchased shares worth $0.51m.

Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2024

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