After a day’s respite, the stock market resumed its downward journey on Friday – the last day of the trading week – falling below the 48,000-point mark because of overall pessimism in the wake of upcoming corporate earnings season.

Investor expectation about quarterly financial results and soaring coronavirus cases left a negative impact on trading activity at the bourse.

Anticipation of stricter restrictions by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) because of rising Covid-19 cases and fears of a fourth wave of the virus fuelled the downtrend at the stock market.

On the news front, the World Bank stopped disbursement of a $400 million loan that Pakistan had secured last month to build foreign exchange reserves but could not meet all the agreed conditions.

Moreover, market players took negative cue from the depreciating rupee against the US dollar, which dropped to a five-month low on Thursday.

Earlier, stock trading began on a negative note and the benchmark KSE-100 index remained on the downtrend throughout the session. Selling pressure intensified during the second session, which closed with a loss of nearly 500 points.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a decrease of 489.72 points, or 1.02%, to settle at 47,563.45.

Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that profit-booking was witnessed at the bourse after a stellar session on Thursday, which brought the index down by 509 points during the session.

Technology, cement, oil and gas marketing and refinery sectors faced selling pressure whereas HBL among banks surged notably.

In the technology sector, TRG Pakistan, NetSol and Systems Limited fell below their respective previous day’s closing prices.

Sectors contributing to the performance included cement (-102 points), technology (-79 points), exploration and production (-48 points), fertiliser (-46 points) and banks (-33 points).

Individually, stocks that contributed positively to the index included PSX (+18 points), HBL (+7 points), Kot Addu Power Company (+6 points), Nestle Pakistan (+5 points) and FrieslandCampina Pakistan (+3 points).

Stocks that contributed negatively were TRG Pakistan (-60 points), Lucky Cement (-54 points), Hubco (-31 points), Pakistan Tobacco (-22 points) and Unity Foods (-18 points).

JS Global analyst Muhammad Mubashir said that the bourse remained under pressure throughout the session due to lack of positive triggers and concerns over the start of a fourth wave of Covid-19.

“Investors preferred to book profits across the board after Thursday’s gains,” he said, adding that as a result the benchmark KSE-100 index closed at 47,563, down 490 points.

Traded volume increased by 6% day-on-day to 506 million shares where TPL Pakistan (+7%), Pace (+4.1%), WorldCall Telecom (-1.8%), Byco Petroleum (-1.1%), Pervez Ahmed Consultancy Services (+19.2%) and Citi Pharma (+7.5%) were the volume leaders.

On the economic front, Pakistan’s total foreign currency reserves crossed the $24 billion mark and State Bank of Pakistan Governor Dr Reza Baqir said that negotiations with the IMF were going well.

“Going forward, we recommend investors to avail any downside as an opportunity to buy in construction and export-oriented sectors,” the analyst said.

Overall trading volumes surged to 506 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 475.2 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs15.4 billion.

Shares of 406 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 159 stocks closed higher, 237 declined and 10 remained unchanged.

TPL Corp was the volume leader with 41.98 million shares, gaining Rs1.29 to close at Rs19.67. It was followed by Pace (Pakistan) with 27.1 million shares, gaining Rs0.31 to close at Rs7.88 and WorldCall Telecom with 25.8 million shares, losing Rs0.07 to close at Rs3.85.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs348.2 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.