After five months, the KSE-100 index lost more than 1,000 points in a day to plunge by 1,090 points, or 2.39 percent, to close at 44,432. A sum of Rs192 billion was washed away from market capitalization.
As the spectre of pre-March 2020 meltdown of the market on fears of devastation and lockdowns raised its ugly head with the infection rate particularly in Punjab and KP rising to a fearful double digits, investors shifted from risky equities to safe havens.
The massive breakout in infection cases has spurred authorities to clamp lockdown in major cities including Lahore and Gujranwala. Investors feared a slowdown in movement of goods to the north, hitting corporate sales and profitability.
Raza Jafri, head of Equities at Intermarket Securities, said that among other reasons that drove away investors included negative news flow relating to delay in the payment of the first instalment to IPPs, which were expected before the end of March.
The market was also concerned about the delay in the declaration of the new refinery policy given that heads had rolled at the ministry concerned. Mr. Raza said rumors of mutual funds’ selling to meet redemption intensified selling pressure.
The figures released by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan, however, revealed that the major market participants that dragged the index down were foreign investors selling shares worth $1.72m; panicky individuals who jettisoned stocks valued at $4.73m and brokers proprietary trading liquidations of $3.52m worth shares.
Companies, banks, and insurance companies mopped up the liquidity while mutual funds sold shares of the net small sum of $0.54m. Traded volume on Monday stood at 524m shares, where top volume contributors were Byco, PRL, ANL, TRG, PTCL, and Unity Foods.