Stocks continue to lose ground, index closes 485 points lower

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KARACHI: It was just another dull start to the trading week at Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) where indices dropped, volumes narrowed and trading remained range-bound.

Internal and external developments on the political front dented the market sentiments. News regarding problems in the Rs20 billion market support fund, which was recently announced by the government, also kept the investors at bay.

According to media reports, the government-approved stock market fund is facing hurdles, as the government is unable to issue sovereign guarantee under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan programme.

The KSE-100 Index went downhill right from the start, dropping 687.45 points or 2.22pc to touch its intraday low of 30,978.96 (a 52-week low). It settled 485.61 points or 1.61pc lower at 31,180.80. The KMI-30 Index fell short by 1.60pc, while the KSE All Share Index lost 1.04pc. Only 65 scripts managed to close with some gains, while 205 slipped and 289 remained unchanged.

The market volumes fell to 52.01 million with cement sector getting the maximum attention (a volume of 8.34 million). The top traded scripts of the day included Maple Leaf Cement Factory Limited (MLCF -1.10pc), TRG Pakistan Limited (TRG +0.89pc) and International Steels Limited (ISL -5.00pc). The scripts had exchanged 4.84 million, 4.20 million and 3.52 million shares respectively.

The commercial bank sector alone pulled the KSE-100 Index lower by 194.67. The oil and gas exploration sector was next in line, clinching 74.46 points off the index. This was followed by the power generation and distribution sector, taking away 51.78 points from the index.

On the other hand, the three sectors that managed to contribute positively to the index included the food & personal care products, chemical and textile spinning sectors. Their cumulative contribution was only 8.08 points.

Among the companies, United Bank Limited (UBL), MCB Bank Limited (MCB) and Habib Bank Limited (HBL) dragged the index lower by 153.9 points. UBL took away 73.98 points, MCB 41.03 and HBL 38.89 points.

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