Lahore - The equities closed negative with benchmark KSE 100-index settling at 43,515 points, down by 293 point or 0.7 percent. The bourse kicked off positive in the first half, making a high of +91 points only and later came under the hammer, making a low of -347 points. On the economy front, Pakistan has endured historic high import bill of $5.6 billion in Jan-2018; taking trade deficit up by 24 percent YoY and 24 percent MoM in Jan 2018. Moreover, the govt has released Rs452.83b (45.24 percent) for various development projects under the PSDP FY18.

Traded volumes plunged by 5 percent DoD to 215m shares while value traded dropped to $72m. Top volume stocks were ANL (+5.30 percent), TRG (+2.14 percent), ASL (-1.24 percent) and KEL (-0.45 percent).

ASL announced its 1HFY18 result reporting an EPS of Rs0.96 (profits up 46 percent YoY) with no cash payout. Interest was seen in KEL on the back of news of the company planning to invest Rs335 billion in power generation, transmission and distribution sectors within the next five years. Auto sector remained in the red zone where INDU (-1.98 percent) and PSMC (-2.04 percent) were the major laggards on the back of news that import of 3-year used cars have been allowed in accordance with previous policy on the demand of importers.

Moreover, INDU made a third recall of Toyota Corolla vehicles in just one year owing to low quality parts and accessories, taking total recalls to more than 15,000. Moving forward, it is expected the market to remain volatile with flows from the local institutions and foreigners directing the market.