PSX slumps on heavy profit-taking

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KARACHI:

Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) faced unprecedented turmoil on Tuesday, experiencing a deep plunge of over 2,500 points, primarily driven by growing uncertainty ahead of general elections and due to the futures contract rollover week.

As soon as the market opened, the KSE-100 index took a deep dive in a big correction which had been long overdue following successive record highs.

The dramatic fall was attributed to several factors, including reports saying that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had disapproved of non-cash adjustments to resolve the circular debt crisis and the government’s decision to raise gas prices for fertiliser producers.

The market’s move towards south was further fueled by profit-taking by investors ahead of year-end, intensified by a substantial reduction in leveraged positions. Resultantly, the index touched its intra-day low at 59,026.81 points about an hour before close.

Power, oil marketing companies (OMCs) and banking sectors were the major contributors to the slump. The index closed below the 60,000 mark in a historic decline.

“PSX witnessed a record fall amid panic during futures contract rollover on pre-poll uncertainty,” remarked Arif Habib Corp MD Ahsan Mehanti.

“Reports of IMF disapproving of non-cash adjustments to reduce the power-sector circular debt, government raising gas prices for the fertiliser sector and margin calls on overleveraged positions at the PSX played the role of catalysts in record fall of the marekt.”

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index registered a massive decline of 2,534.12 points, or 4.11%, and settled at 59,170.98.

Topline Securities, in its report, wrote that Pakistan equities started the day on a negative note, experiencing a “bloodbath” as selling pressure aggressively countered the bullish momentum.

“This downturn can be attributed to profit-taking ahead of the calendar year-end, coupled with an aggressive reduction in positions by leveraged investors,” it said.

Read PSX slumps on pre-poll uncertainty

Major negative contribution came from stocks in power, OMCs and banking sectors. Hub Power, Pakistan Petroleum, Oil and Gas Development Company, Habib Bank and Pakistan State Oil collectively suffered a loss of 763 points.

On the other side, Ibrahim Fibres, MCB Bank and Fatima Fertiliser contributed combined gains of 18 points, Topline added.

Arif Habib Limited (AHL), in its review, noted that there was “additional downside” at the start of the week.

It said “60,000 points for KSE-100 and 20,000 points for KSE-30 are significant levels and we are now on alert to watch for signs of bottoming and the resumption of upside.”

It pointed out that the drawdown for the KSE-100 had extended beyond minus 10%, “which is historically the turning point in bull markets,” adding that a point of concern was that Pakistan was on the FTSE watch list for potential downgrade from secondary emerging to frontier market status.

JS Global analyst Mubashir Anis Naviwala said that a “bloodbath” was witnessed at the bourse. “Going forward, we recommend investors to remain cautious at current levels and wait for fresh buying,” the analyst added.

Overall trading volumes decreased to 670.9 million shares against Friday’s tally of 671.5 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs17.1 billion.

Shares of 369 companies were traded. Of these, 43 stocks closed higher, 315 dropped and 11 remained unchanged.

K-Electric was the volume leader with trading in 97.4 million shares, losing Rs0.74 to close at Rs4.44. It was followed by WorldCall Telecom with 72.5 million shares, losing Rs0.18 to close at Rs1.36 and The Bank of Punjab with 41.01 million shares, losing Rs0.91 to close at Rs5.72.

Foreign investors were net buyers of shares worth Rs295.2 million, according to the NCCPL.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2023.

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