ISLAMABAD                    -             The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) Tuesday witnessed bearish trend as KSE 100-index closed at 28,564.83 points as compared to 30,667.41 points on the last working day with the negative change of 2,102.58 points (6.68%). A total of 98,788,497 shares valuing 2.484 billion were traded against 244,998,438 shares valuing Rs 8.470 billion on the previous day. The shares of some 285 companies were transacted in the stock market, 24 of them recorded gains and 253 sustained losses whereas the share prices of eight companies remained unchanged.

The three top traded companies were K-Electric Ltd with a volume of 25,596,500 shares and price per share of Rs 2.99, Unity Foods Ltd with a volume of 11,911,500 and price per share of Rs 8.71, and Bank of Punjab XD with a volume of 9,611,500 and price per share of Rs 8.01. Bata (Pak) recorded maximum increase of Rs 47.87 per share, closing at Rs 1408.58 while Sapphire Fiber was the runner-up with the increase of Rs 33.35 per share, closing at Rs 809.99. Colgate Palm recorded maximum decrease of Rs 162.79 per share, closing at Rs 2,007.87, whereas the prices of Philip Morris Pak decreased by Rs 145.54  per share closing at Rs1795.11.

The PSX triggered market halt at 11:37 am due to 5 percent decline in KSE 30-index and all the equity based derivative markets remained suspended for 120 minutes. The Pakistan Stock Exchange as a front line regulator has introduced market halt action with the approval of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) in accordance with the international best practices as a means to safeguard the interests of investors and stakeholders. This is a standard protocol for risk management purposes which is triggered when the KSE-30 index moves 4% either way and remains there for five consecutive minutes.

“Market halt” procedure has been introduced by the PSX as a front line regulator in line with international best practices and approved by SECP in PSX regulations in December of 2019. The objective of introducing market halt is to safeguard investors and market participants during volatile markets.

During this halt, trading in all securities remains temporarily suspended in order to ensure a cooling off period and run a mark to market activity as a risk management measure. PSX remains at the forefront of the capital market to provide a fair, transparent, and efficient marketplace for the benefit of investors, issuers and all stakeholders.

Meanwhile, the PSX Tuesday launched a new product, the Exchange Traded Fund (ETF), hence joined the list of stock exchanges in the world offering this facility. The ETFs are investment products combining the returns offered by the stock market with the diversity offered by a mutual fund, said PSX press statement received here. The PSX has launched two ETFs, namely the UBL Pakistan Enterprise ETF offered by UBL Funds and NIT Pakistan Gateway ETF offered by NIT.

Given the current circumstances and in the interest of safety, a first of its kind virtual launch was organized by PSX for the landmark launch of the ETFs, the statement added. This virtual launch is a step taken to make sure that the message of availability of ETFs in the Pakistani Capital Market goes across to all investors and market participants while ensuring their safety in the wake of the current threat of the potential spread of the Covid-19 virus.

In his address at the virtual launch, the SECP Chairman, Aamir Khan said that the introduction of ETFs was a big leap for asset management industry and stock market in Pakistan.

He said that this product offers significant growth potential due to its transparent nature, low costs and embedded ability to track the index by following a passive investment strategy.

Managing Director PSX, Farrukh Khan said that it was an exciting development and a new chapter had been added after a very long time to the narrative of the Pakistani stock market in the form of ETFs.

The reason that it all took time was the challenge in finding optimal solutions acceptable to all stakeholders and which were also in the best interest of investors.

Now that the ETFs have been introduced, it is hoped that it would make the market more attractive to all investors, especially retail investors, he added.

He further stated that globally ETFs are an integral part of product offerings in the capital markets. It is a product with significant presence in over 47 countries. Internationally, there are over 8,000 ETFs with aggregate Assets Under Management of about USD 6.5 trillion by the end of 2019, and estimated to grow to around USD 7.6 trillion by the end of 2020.

Speaking on the occasion, the CEO of UBL Funds, Yasir Qadri stated that ETF launch was another first for UBL Funds, jointly the best rated asset manager of Pakistan with a tradition of launching new products.

Managing Girector NIT, Adnan Afridi termed the launch as a proud moment for NIT adding that being the oldest Asset Management Company in the country, NIT had always taken the lead in terms of launching new funds and has played a key role in the development of the capital markets of the country.