Cautious investors resort to profit-taking

KARACHI: After an unprecedented run up, the bulls were stopped in their tracks on Wednesday as investors decided to book profit in exercise of caution.

Investors were nervous over the political developments a day earlier where the death sentence handed to former President Musharraf was met with some sharp rebuke from important quarters. The KSE-100 index closed down by 164.95 points (0.39 per cent) at 41,603.71.

The market opened weak and remained in bearish frame of mind with the index sliding down by 379 points in intraday trade. Mutual funds were the major sellers of shares valued at $4.08 million as they sought exit at the first sign of trouble while individuals and companies were net buyers. Foreigners also picked up blue chips worth $1.64m.

Profit-taking was witnessed mainly in the exploration and production sectors where Oil and Gas Development Company declined 3.2pc and Pakistan Petroleum down 2.6pc, washing away 120 points.

Moreover, the decision of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority to increase gas prices for domestic consumers by up to 214pc was another reason for the market decline as investors visualised dent on bottom line of companies in several sectors. Some concerted buying midday saw ihe Index jump out of the red and rise to intraday high by 152 points but could not stand up to heavy sell-off.

The volume declined 33pc to 276m shares, from 412m shares that changed hands a day ago while traded value also stood down by 31pc to $78.5m as against $113.6m. Stocks that contributed significantly included Bank of Punjab, Unity Foods, Fauji Foods, K-Electric, Hascol (right issue), which formed 24pc of total turnover.

Scrip-wise, index downside was mainly attributable to fall in OGDC, declining by 3.1pc, PPL 2.6pc, Lucky Cement 1.2pc, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines 2.8pc, Bank Al Habib 1.2pc and Pakistan Oilfields 0.7pc. The major gaining stocks included Dawood Hercules, up 5pc, Hub Power 2.2pc, Meezan Bank 2.2pc and Shifa International 5pc.

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