KARACHI: After staying in the black for the most part, the index dropped to end more than half a percentage point down as news of top brokers being investigated fouled whatever momentum investors gathered.

Ignoring lack of clarity on many fronts, including US Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates that would give direction to regional markets going forward, Pakistan equities opened positive and managed to sustain the level till mid-day.

However, media reports of National Accountability Bureau serving notices and seeking explanation from 10 influential market players dented sentiments that, at one point, took the index to over 33,700.

At close on Thursday, the Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index fell 0.58% or 193.50 points to end at 33152.06.

Elixir Securities stated equities endured a volatile session as participants tracked regional markets. “Index-heavy oils landed support after recent sharp surge in international crude,” stated the brokerage firm. “Index failed to sustain the upward drive as mid-day rumours on brokers’ investigations jolted confidence again.”

Meanwhile, JS Global Ahmed Saeed Khan said negativity came in after media reports of NABserving notices. “The recent news further deteriorates investors’ confidence in the market,” said Khan.

Abbasi Securities’ analyst Sammar Ali Shah said the news flow over potential NAB investigations and issues surrounding MCB’s privatisation created some selling pressure. “We expect the Federal Reserve’s decision to offer better insight on the equity markets going forward,” said Shah.

Trade volumes rose to 182 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 104 million shares.

Shares of 383 companies were traded on Thursday. At the end of the day, 159 stocks closed higher, 199 declined while 25 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs9.1 billion.

Byco Petroleum was the volume leader with 20.4 million shares, gaining Rs0.20 to finish at Rs25.29. It was followed by TRG Pakistan with 10.4 million shares, gaining Rs0.52 to close at Rs32.23 and Pace Pakistan with 9.6 million shares, gaining Rs0.09 to close at Rs6.85.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs254 million during the trade session, according to data maintained by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.

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