KARACHI: The free fall in stock values came to a halt on Wednesday with the KSE-100 index closing at a nominal loss of 26.98 points at 32,539.61.

Following a steep plunge of 697 points, or 2.1 per cent, in the last two days, the benchmark index witnessed support, though initially touching intra-day low at 32,199 points.

Foreign investors resorted to heavy net selling at $11.07 million on Wednesday. Mohammad Sohail, CEO at Topline Securities, said that genuine local investors entered the market as the values had become highly attrac­tive. He said that it appeared that the market had bottomed out.

Zulqarnain Khan, Executive Director at brokerage Next Capital, observed that the reasons for the weakness in the market were heavy profit-taking by both the foreign investors and the mutual funds.

volumes improved to 172m shares from 132m shares traded the day before and trading value rose to Rs9.8 billion from Rs7.6bn.The foreign selling was absorbed by institutional participants to ‘cover their sold positions’. He said that due to peak levels, the regulators had become vigilant in the last 2-3 weeks in enforcing fair market practices.

Analysts said that although there were some concerns due to protest of MQM in the city but later-on institutional buying was seen in several sectors.

Oil stocks remained under pressure due to falling international crude oil prices while Lucky Cement recovered 1.1pc. Other cement stocks also posted decent gains. Investors also accumulated Engro stocks on realising that gas price hike will only affect one plant of its subsidiary, EFERT.

Analyst Ahsan Mehanti at Arif Habib Corp commented that stocks closed lower amid pressure in oil, fertiliser and banking stocks on weak earnings outlook.


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