Index plunges 507 points on profit-taking

KARACHI: Stocks went into free fall on Thursday as the KSE-100 index plunged by 507 points (1.1 per cent) to finish at 47,951 points.

The index conceded half of the 1,100 points it had gathered in the last four sessions.

Traders attributed the heavy fall to a number of factors including fear-induced profit-selling.

Analysts said the selling pressure may have been amplified due to the Sindh chief minister’s comments regarding nationwide gas shutdown, the resurgence of Indo-Pak tensions, and the looming fear related to impending verdict on the Panamagate case.

Market participation improved with bears dominating the activity. The traded volume and value both rose by 7pc over the previous session to 233 million shares and Rs12 billion. ASL, LOTCHEM and SSGC, which together saw 51m shares change hands, made major contribution to the volume.

SSGC rose 4.2pc and continued to rally despite the Chief Ministers threatening comments, while SNGP declined 2.6pc.

The oil and gas sector came under fire after crude oil prices reversed from its new one-month high. MARI dropped 5pc and the E&P sector also came under the hammer on the back of news that the government intends to sell off 18.3pc stake in the company through a secondary public offering. EFOODS lost 2.25pc value to close in the red as the dairy company declared below expectation first quarter 2017 results.

Banks also weighed down on market sentiment with losers HBL down 2.08pc, UBL 1.33pc, MCB 0.74pc and NBP 1.23pc, taking their toll on the broader market sentiment.

According to Inter­market Securities, major contribution to downside came from OGDC 2.22pc, UBL 1.33pc and ENGRO 1.47pc, taking away 209 points. On the flip side, SSGC rose 4.19pc, SHFA 5pc and MUREB 2.97pc, adding 20 points.

From the sector perspective, industrials dropped 2.69pc, energy 1.82pc and telecommunication 1.43pc, contributing towards a weak close.

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