KARACHI               -           Bears took control of the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Friday, as the investors adopted a cautious approach ahead of the budget announcement. “Investors’ sentiment remained dampened throughout the pre-budget session, mainly on the back of the global rout in capital and commodity markets; US and regional markets tumbling by up to 7 per cent while similar attrition was observed in international crude oil prices,” said a report issued by Arif Habib Ltd.

The KSE-100 Index started the proceedings on a negative note, registering its intraday low at 34,503.94 after losing 624.64 points. It settled lower by 517.35 points at 34,611.23. Among other indices, the KMI-30 Index plunged 890.68 points or -1.59 per cent to end at 55,130.43, while the KSE All Share Index dropped 307.24 points, closing at 24,703.29. Of the total traded scrips, 77 advanced and 202 declined.

The overall market volumes contracted from 269.30 million shares in the previous session to 177.76 million shares (-34 per cent). Average traded value also declined by 27 per cent, from $52.6 million to reach $38.4 million. Azgard Nine Limited (ANL +7.09 per cent), Maple Leaf Cement Factory Limited (MLCF -0.79 per cent) and Unity Foods Limited (UNITY -2.46 per cent) led the volume chart, exchanging 12.69 million, 11.35 million and 10.80 million shares, respectively.

Sectors that drove the KSE-100 Index south included banking (-180.24 points), oil & gas exploration (-122.28 points) and power generation & distribution (-35.31 points). Among the companies, Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDC -49.82 points), Habib Bank Limited (HBL -47.01 points) and MCB Bank Limited (MCB -44.68 points) dented the index the most. The refinery sector lost 4.09 per cent in its total market capitalization, with Byco Petroleum Pakistan Limited (BYCO -4.72 per cent), Attock Refinery Limited (ATRL -3.49 per cent), National Refinery Limited (NRL -2.85 per cent) and Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL -2.59 per cent) closing in the red.