KARACHI: The benchmark index opened positive but struggled near highs as late selling pushed it in the red, while turnover was notably higher than the recent average.

At close, the Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index dropped 0.37% or 112.38 points to end at 30,113.24.

Elixir Securities analyst Harris Ahmed Batla said bears continued to book profits over 30,000 ahead of the long weekend with textiles under the firing line – namely Nishat Mills (NML -4.95%) and Nishat Chunian Limited (NCL – 3.18%) – hitting the lower price limit intraday, following lower-than-expected earnings announcements.

“On the other hand, Engro Fertilizer (EFERT 4.67%) hit the upper price circuit, gathering institutional interest on rumours of approval for concessionary gas supply to its Enven Plan,” said Batla.

“Meanwhile, Lalpir Power (LPL +4.75%) and Faysal Bank (FABL 2.13%) led volumes charts with local institutions reportedly swapping positions.

“We expect the index to trade between 29,800 and 30,400 as traders will likely remain sidelined before the holidays.”

Meanwhile, JS Global analyst Arhum Ghous said EARL and GLAXO continued euphoric growth as the pharmaceutical sector urged the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan to finalise the pricing policy that would benefit the government and the consumers.

Trade volumes rose to 259 million shares compared to 165 million on Tuesday.

Shares of 380 companies were traded on Wednesday. Of these, 233 companies declined, 127 closed higher while 20 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs12.6 billion.

Lalpir Power was the volume leader with 41.6 million shares, gaining Rs1 to close at Rs22.06. It was followed by Faysal Bank with 34.4 million shares, losing Rs0.43 to close at Rs18.16 and Engro Fertilizer Limited with 27.2 million shares, gaining Rs2.65 to close at Rs59.43.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs390 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.

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