KARACHI -  Stock market finally succumbed to profit-taking after seven consecutive positive sessions, with the 100-share index shedding 246 points to close at 44,817 points.

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Market has gained 6.4% since last negative close. The benchmark index from its 19th December low of 37,991 points, has gained 18.8% (+11.3% YTD). Investors resorted to either booking profits or remaining on the sidelines on increased prospect of escalation in Pak –US tensions following unilateral US drone strike.

Despite WTI popping over $66 a barrel for the first time in more than three years, E&P sector exhibited mixed performance, said dealer Topline Brokerage.

Till Wednesday, foreign net inflows in January have clocked $98m, which is second highest monthly inflow since 2013. The quantum of short sell in DFC (deliverable futures contract) has also been quite high at around Rs 4.4b.

Top 5 index point detractors included POL (down 4.6%), HBL (1.3%), LUCK (2.1%), OGDC (1.2%) & UBL (1.4%), which withheld 177 points from the index while PIBTL (up 5.7%), SEARL (2.3%), KEL (2.3%), MARI (2%) & PPL (0.2%) added 65 points. Cements, after rallying for a past few days, closed lower.

Volumes declined to 246m shares as against 340m shares Wednesday (-28% DoD). Average traded value also declined by 45% DoD to reach $89.5m as against $164m of the previous day.

Stocks that contributed significantly to the volumes included DSL, BOP, KEL, ANL and FFL, reflecting 32% of total volumes.