Bears returned to the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Thursday as the benchmark KSE-100 index shed 153 points following a jump in Covid-19 infections, which created panic among investors who aggressively sold their holdings.
As the tally of new virus infections across the country surged to a four-month high, the market participants, anticipating stringent measures to contain the rising numbers, chose to divest their holdings. A halt to economic activities will dent businesses and lead to a further deterioration in economic indicators.
Moreover, the lack of positive triggers also kept bulls on the sidelines and selling pressure persisted throughout the day.
Following a brief open in the positive territory, the KSE-100 index began its descent soon. After the early session fall, the market remained range bound throughout the day as voting on mini-budget in the National Assembly took a toll on the trading environment.
At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a decrease of 153.05 points, or 0.33%, to settle at 45,763.20.
A report of Arif Habib Limited stated that the market remained volatile as the country reported the highest-ever Covid-19 infections in the last four months.
The market opened on a bleak note as investors turned risk averse, it said. In the refinery sector, Cnergyico PK was in the limelight after its board approved the acquisition of 57.37% stake in Puma Energy, which would make it the second largest retail fuel network in Pakistan.
In the last trading hour, profit-taking was witnessed across the board, the report said. “Activity continued to remain sideways with the market witnessing hefty volumes in third-tier stocks,” it stated.
JS Global analyst Neelam Naz said that the bourse remained under pressure throughout the day due to the lack of positive triggers. Profit-taking was witnessed across the board and the benchmark index closed at 45,763, down 153 points day-on-day.
Traded volume stood at 328 million shares with Cnergyico PK (+6.3%), WorldCall Telecom (0%), Hascol Petroleum (+2.9%), TRG Pakistan (-31%) and Media Times (+6.9%) being the biggest contributors.
“Going forward, we recommend investors to avail any downside as an opportunity to buy stocks of technology, fertiliser and cyclical sectors,” the analyst said.
Overall trading volumes dipped to 327.6 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 514.4 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs6.5 billion.
Shares of 353 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 135 stocks closed higher, 196 declined and 22 remained unchanged.
Cnergyico PK was the volume leader with 74.1 million shares, gaining Rs0.43 to close at Rs7.31. It was followed by WorldCall Telecom with 47.8 million shares, closing unchanged at Rs2.53 and Hascol Petroleum with 23.4 million shares, gaining Rs0.2 to close at Rs7.11.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs19.85 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.