The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) once again tumbled on Monday as rising coronavirus cases in the country rattled investors, pushing the benchmark index down by over 400 points in intra-day trading.
Talk of a likely lockdown to be imposed in light of the proposal given by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) to contain the spread of Covid-19 amid the third wave weighed on investor sentiment.
The market’s reversal was also attributed to political uncertainty on the back of disputes in the 11-party opposition alliance called the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), which forced market players to trade cautiously.
Despite upbeat remittances data announced during the trading session, which showed inflows touching $2.7 billion in March 2021 and remaining above $2 billion for the 10th consecutive month, bulls failed to maintain their grip on the stock market.
At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a decrease of 208.43 points, or 0.46%, to settle at 44,978.05 points.
Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that the market reacted to the NCOC proposal regarding possibility of a lockdown, although a firm decision was yet to be made.
Selling pressure was evident across the board with the exception of a few stocks, including TRG Pakistan, Ghani Global Holdings, MCB Bank and Fauji Fertiliser, which somewhat supported the index.
Overall the index lost 428 points during the session and closed down by 208 points.
The refinery sector, which had lately moved in line with technology stocks, went down in the wake of weak investor sentiment.
Sectors contributing to the performance included oil and gas marketing companies (-36 points), banks (-32 points), pharmaceutical (-26 points), chemical (-23 points) and cement (-23 points).
Individually, stocks that contributed positively to the index included TRG Pakistan (+98 points), Fauji Fertiliser (+24 points), MCB (+19 points), Engro Fertilisers (+12 points) and Lucky Cement (+6 points).
Stocks that contributed negatively were Engro Corporation (-44 points), PSO (-25 points), Oil and Gas Development Company (-22 points), Searle (-21 points) and UBL (-16 points).
Overall trading volumes jumped to 503.5 million shares compared with Friday’s tally of 688 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs19.97 billion.
Shares of 387 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 130 stocks closed higher, 234 declined and 23 remained unchanged.
WorldCall Telecom was the volume leader with 73.8 million shares, gaining Rs0.09 to close at Rs1.52. It was followed by TRG Pakistan with 42.2 million shares, gaining Rs9.08 to close at Rs168.69 and Ghani Global Holdings with 38.8 million shares, gaining Rs1.85 to close at Rs30.19.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs18.6 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.