KARACHI: Stocks were hammered for the third day in a row on Tuesday, with the benchmark KSE-100 index falling 209.89 points (0.43 per cent) to close at 48,678.65. The session was marked by intense volatility as the index dived down by 780 points soon after opening.
Investors appeared in a high pitch of anxiety due to several factors, including uncertainty about the outcome of the Panama Papers case, flare-up in foreign selling and a directive of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan to asset management companies to keep 5pc assets in cash to cover liquidity risk.
Moreover, weak investors went into panic selling, which some analyst thought was non-material or speculative in nature.
Dealers at Topline Securities said the index declined amid foreign selling seen in heavyweights such as Lucky Cement and Habib Bank, which together contributed 139 points to the index fall.
The trading volume rose to 380 million shares on Tuesday from 316m shares a day ago, while trading value rose to Rs22.4 billion from Rs20.3bn.
Bulk of the pressure came from selling in banks, oil-marketing companies, steel, power, pharmaceuticals and textile sectors, analysts at Intermarket Securities said.
Major contribution to the downside came from Lucky Cement which fell 3.23pc, HBL 1.98pc, Oil and Gas Development Company 1.04pc, United Bank 0.57pc and MCB Bank 0.60pc. Additionally, HabibMetro Bank was down 4.59pc, Dawood Hercules 1.28pc, Nishat Mills Ltd 2.29pc, Engro Fertilisers 1.18pc, Engro Corporation 0.64pc and Pakistan State Oil 0.70pc.
On the flip side, National Refinery Ltd rose 5pc, Maple Leaf Cement 2.57pc, ICI Pakistan 2.65pc, Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim Ltd 3.83pc and Fauji Fertiliser 0.63pc.
Ahsan Mehanti at Arif Habib Corp surmised that the stocks closed lower on institutional profit-taking amid concerns for surging foreign outflows and uncertainty over outcome of the Panamagate hearing in the Supreme Court. “Late session support was witnessed in selected oil and banking stocks on likely record earnings announcements in the upcoming results season,” he said.