Bears continued to hold sway at the stock market for the sixth consecutive day on Friday as the benchmark KSE-100 index shed nearly 250 points and closed below the 46,000-point mark.

The stock market traded between hope and despair, which eventually let loose the bears who dragged the bourse into the red.

Investors kept a close watch on news about revival of IMF loan programme and the emerging financial results.

Trade volume shrank 61% day-on-day because of a lack of positive triggers. WorldCall Telecom led the volumes with 58.7 million shares changing hands.

Weakening oil prices in the international market took a toll on the exploration and production sector while encouraging financial results helped the cement sector maintain its upward march.

Positive market activity was also fuelled by the rupee gaining ground against the US dollar, coupled with positive macros on the economic front.

The KSE-100 index opened up, but it encountered frequent falls at regular intervals. The downward trend turned steeper in the second session of the day and the bourse failed to sustain the 46,000-point mark.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a decrease of 247.16 points, or 0.54%, to settle at 45,808.36 points.

Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that the market succumbed to selling pressure during the second session, which was driven by institutional selling.

Aggressive selling was observed particularly in the exploration and production, banking and oil and gas marketing sectors that brought the index down by 247 points.

“A fall in international crude oil prices supplemented the decline in exploration and production sector,” the report said.

The cement sector continued the uptrend with DG Khan Cement, Lucky Cement and Pioneer Cement moving upwards and helping the index by adding +303 points.

The technology sector faced profit-booking barring NetSol which, despite declaring nominal earnings per share and losing ground, bounced back strongly.

Sectors contributing to the performance included banks (-114 points), exploration and production (-109 points), power (-64 points), investment banks (-40 points) and fertiliser (-16 points).

Individually, stocks that contributed positively to the index included Lucky Cement (+58 points), Systems Limited (+23 points), DG Khan Cement (+22 points), Millat Tractors (+10 points) and Pioneer Cement (+6 points).

Stocks that contributed negatively were Oil and Gas Development Company (-42 points), Dawood Hercules (-40 points), Hubco (-37 points), Pakistan Oilfields (-35 points) and MCB (-30 points).

JS Global analyst Danish Ladhani said the KSE-100 index remained volatile, touching intra-day high and low of +302 points and -324 points respectively. It closed the session at 45,808 (down 0.5%).

Selling pressure intensified in the second half of trading, however, cement stocks once again lifted investor sentiment. DG Khan Cement (+3.5%), Maple Leaf Cement (+0.8%) and Pioneer Cement (+1.7%) closed in the green zone with good volumes.

Total traded volumes stood at 443 million shares. Major contribution came from WorldCall Telecom (-7.9%), Telecom Limited (-7.4%), TRG Pakistan (-0.2%), DG Khan Cement (+3.5%), Pakistan International Bulk Terminal (-0.8%) and Hum Network (-1.7%).

Nishat Power (-3.9%) remained in the negative territory as it reported consolidated 1HFY21 earnings per share of Rs4.142.

“Looking at the trend, we believe profit-booking can continue and recommend investors to buy on dips,” he said.

Overall trading volumes plunged to 442.7 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 1.12 billion. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs20.9 billion.

Shares of 405 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 157 stocks closed higher, 232 declined and 16 remained unchanged.

WorldCall Telecom was the volume leader with 58.7 million shares, losing Rs0.12 to close at Rs1.39. It was followed by Telecard Limited with 37.9 million shares, losing Rs0.45 to close at Rs5.63 and TRG Pakistan with 18 million shares, losing Rs0.24 to close at Rs117.32.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs253 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.