Bears maintained their control over the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Monday, in line with the preceding session, as political tensions fuelled selling pressure across the board ahead of Senate elections.

The Supreme Court said polls for the upper house would be held according to Article 226 of the Constitution and through secret ballot.

Uncertainty in international crude oil market coupled with projections of monthly inflation data also fuelled the bearish momentum.

The benchmark KSE-100 index, following a positive open, crawled downwards. However, some of the losses were wiped off later and bears and bulls continued to wrestle for control of the market in the rest of the session.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a decrease of 271.59 points, or 0.59%, to settle at 45,593.43 points.

Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that the market saw a major drawdown with the loss of 772 points during the session. Initially, the index gained 144 points, however, across-the-board selling pressure brought it down.

“Supreme Court’s decision on Senate elections was viewed in the backdrop of government’s plea and investors were concerned over how to keep their liquidity intact rather than holding on to their positions,” the report said.

TRG Pakistan announced its financial results and faced profit-booking that brought the stock below last trading day’s closing price.

Among the few stocks that traded positive included Shabbir Tiles and Ceramics, Mughal Iron and Steel Industries, Attock Refinery and National Refinery. In the last half hour, investors resorted to brisk buying and the index ended the day lower by 272 points.

Sectors contributing to the performance included banks (-103 points), textile (-27 points), pharmaceutical (-26 points), power (-23 points), technology (-19 points) and chemical (+22 points).

Individually, stocks that contributed positively to the index included Engro Polymer and Chemicals (+18 points), Colgate-Palmolive (+12 points), Pakistan Tobacco (+9 points), Lucky Cement (+8 points) and Azgard Nine (+6 points).

Stocks that contributed negatively were UBL (-39 points), HBL (-32 points), Bank AL Habib (-18 points), Pakistan State Oil (-13 points) and Mari Petroleum (-12 points).

JS Global analyst Danish Ladhani said selling pressure brought the KSE-100 from intra-day high of +144 points in the initial hours to the low of -772 points by midday. However, the market managed to recoup some of the losses in the latter half of the session, closing at 45,593 (down 0.6%).

“Regarding the upcoming Senate elections, the Supreme Court stated that elections for the upper house would be held under Article 226 of the Constitution through secret ballot,” he added.

Azgard Nine (+2.3%), TRG Pakistan (-0.4%), Unity Foods (-5.4%), Hum Network (-4.2%), Byco Petroleum (-4.6%) and Ghani Glass (+7%) were the volume leaders as they contributed a cumulative 134 million shares to the total volume.

Ladhani stated that Engro Polymer and Chemicals (+4.8%) closed in the green as the company announced that it had achieved commercial operation date of its 100,000-ton-per-annum PVC plant, taking the total production capacity to 295,000 tons per annum.

“Moving forward, the market is expected to remain volatile,” the analyst said. “We recommend investors to avail themselves of any downside as an opportunity to build positions in cement, refinery and textile sectors.”

Overall trading volumes decreased to 368.4 million shares compared with Friday’s tally of 480 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs18.4 billion.

Shares of 421 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 111 stocks closed higher, 297 declined and 13 remained unchanged.

Azgard Nine was the volume leader with 31.8 million shares, gaining Rs0.7 to close at Rs31.43. It was followed by TRG Pakistan with 24.6 million shares, losing Rs0.57 to close at Rs141.49 and Unity Foods with 21.2 million shares, losing Rs1.68 to close at Rs29.7.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs11.9 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.