KARACHI: Political noise overshadowed sentiments at the bourse as the index ended lower amid low volumes. Lack of interest, absence of major triggers meant the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) benchmark index finished close to 33,500 on the second day of the week.

S&P’s rating upgrade from stable to positive and words of appreciation for the government highlighting “significant progress in stabilizing economic, fiscal, external performance and financing conditions” were not enough to help the index.

At close on Tuesday, the index stood at 33,533.64 points, registering a decrease of 0.56% or 189.89 points.

According to Elixir Securities analyst Faisal Bilwani, rumours of the regulator stepping up efforts to enforce client holding segregation and prop trading rules did not help confidence. “The wider market, however, witnessed strong support near 33,500 levels and avoided any spark declines,” he said.

“Oil stocks particularly exploration and production names continued to show strength on excitement and bets on improvement in production flows from key TAL block while Engro Fertilizers (EFERT PA -2.2%) ended lower after shares from recent private placement moved to buyers’ account with opportunists booking quick gains,” he added.

Meanwhile, Adam Securities analyst Fahad Hussain Khan said correction mood continued at the bourse.

“Major over-valued stocks of cement, fertiliser and power generation and distribution corrected their prices amid profit-taking. Lower CPI has raised hopes for another discount rate cut which may trigger the market for new levels in the coming days,” said Hussain.

Trade volumes fell to 172 million shares compared to 206 million on Monday.

Shares of 352 companies were traded on Tuesday. Of these, 104 companies closed higher, 229 saw a decline and 19 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs10.5 billion.

Engro Fertilizer was the volume leader with 22.4 million shares, losing Rs1.92 to close at Rs86.81. It was followed by K-Electric Limited with 18.6 million shares, gaining Rs0.21 to close at Rs7.77 and Byco Petroleum with 9.4 million shares, losing Rs0.58 to close at Rs11.63.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs432 million worth of shares during the session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.

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