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Stocks extend overnight losses

Karachi: Taking a cue from the Wall Street, the local stock market remained in search of direction. The KSE-100 index, however, closed on a slight fall of 16.87 points to 26,653.73.

Investors seemed to be in the grip of fear of the global markets having hit a stumbling block after a great bull run. At the KSE, the buyers decided to hold back the orders until the trend of the foreign institutional investors (FII) was clear.

Although foreign outflow was marginal on Monday, the overseas investors were seen to have sold $2.81 million worth stocks on Tuesday. And while the institutions remained on the sidelines, individuals purchased shares valued at $3.65m.

The turnover in terms of volume jumped to 303m shares on Tuesday, from 230m shares traded a day ago, though the trading value stood down to Rs7.653 billion, from Rs8.389bn, representing that much of the day's activity was concentrated in second and third tier low-priced scrips. It was also evident from the 10-top traded stocks on Tuesday where all stocks were priced below Rs20.

Most analysts said that the negative closing with strong volumes could indicate that the corrective trend might still be underway. A strong closing in the positive was essential for investors to regain confidence.

The front-line cement sector saw continued downward pressure as market worried over the low dispatches in the month of January and prevailing cost pressures. Likewise, selling continued in sugar stocks due to falling margins.

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