karachi

Fall in oil and banking stocks coupled with continuous foreign outflows kept equity market under pressure Tuesday and the KSE 100-index fell 112.65 points or 0.35% to close at 32,342.26 points, wiping out all gains of 2015.

Volumes improved as 129m shares worth Rs8.2b/$82m were traded as compared to 120mn shares (Rs7bn/US$70mn) of previous session Monday. Out of total 340 traded companies in the session, 127 concluded in advance, 191 in decline while 22 remained unchanged. Amid falling international oil prices, local oil stocks also kept on decreasing, contributing 65 points or 58% decline in total index fall of 0.35%. Expectations of monetary easing in the upcoming monetary policy also forced investors to trim banking stocks, however brought renewed interest in high dividend yielding stocks like HUBCO, KAPCO, FFC and FFBL. ENGRO also saw some buying interest after falling 5% on Monday. Stock closed in positive with healthy volumes of Rs.1.79b/USD17.9m, said a report of Topline Securities brokerage.

Despite several positive triggers, the market refused to reverse its downward trajectory as the fear of foreign selling plagued investors and forced them to book profits. Cement sector performed comparatively better than others with the expected cut in interest rates and increased local demand serving as positive sentiment drivers. PIOC rose 3.51% and LPCL 0.89% were major gainers in the sector, stated analyst Ovais Ahsan. Stocks closed lower amid thin activity on investors’ fears on foreign selling after WTI crude oil prices fell below $43/barrel in the volatile trading session at KSE.

Late session support in fertilizer and energy stocks on strong fundamentals supported the index to close above session lows. Falling CPI inflation and oil prices impacted the sentiments as Investors await SBP key policy rate announcement on March 21, observed analyst Ahsan Mehanti.