Bourse turns bearish, KSE-100 index falls 378 points

From Zeeshan Mirza

KARACHI: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) succumbed to selling pressure on Tuesday as investor optimism, witnessed a day ago, evaporated and resultantly, the KSE-100 index shed 377 points.
Dismal trade figures — that widened 100% to $11.7 billion in the first quarter of current fiscal year —coupled with a depreciating currency dented investor’s sentiment.
Earlier, trading began on a positive note, however, the investors started booking profits following the announcement of financial results, which wiped off the gains. Index-heavy cement and technology sectors faced modest selling, which fuelled the downtrend. A lack of positive triggers that could give direction to the market dented investor sentiment, lending to divestment of stockholdings, which erased gains posted during the session at regular intervals.
The benchmark index recorded a decrease of 377.93 points, or 0.84%, to settle at 44,666.57 points.
A report from Arif Habib Limited noted that discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are still ongoing with the hope of near term resolution and resumption of IMF programme. “Besides IMF programme worries, continued pressure on rupee-dollar parity has also caused concern amongst investors, especially foreigners who have lately started selling equities,” it said. Among technology stocks, Octopus hit upper circuit, whereas other tech stocks remained under pressure, especially TRG Pakistan which saw selling pressure despite anticipation of high earnings.
Sectors contributing to the performance included cement (-170 points), technology (-99 points), fertiliser (-45 points), banks (-23 points) and oil and gas marketing companies (-17 points).