A dull session was witnessed at the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Tuesday as a surge in Covid-19 cases kept investors on the sidelines and restricted the advance of KSE-100 index, which closed with a marginal gain of 12 points.

The tally of domestic virus cases continued to mount in some densely populated districts in the country, limiting market participants’ ability to discount virus fears.

Moreover, a tumultuous political situation in Afghanistan also played on investors’ mind and resulted in range-bound trading.

The session began on a positive note, however, the sombre mood soon dragged the index into the red zone. In the second half, the index erased losses and entered the positive territory, but the lack of investor interest restrained the market from posting substantial gains and it ended the day on a flat note.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded an increase of 11.86 points, or 0.03%, to settle at 47,135.48.

A report of Arif Habib Limited stated that the market traded range bound, oscillating between -195 points and +149 points. It closed the session up by 12 points.

Activity remained tilted towards the technology sector, which helped the KSE-100 index make some advance and it led the index in volumes.

On a net basis, cement, textile, pharmaceutical and steel sectors traded in the positive region, whereas exploration and production companies and banks generally contributed to the negative side of the index, the report said.

JS Global analyst Neelum Naz said that the KSE-100 index dropped to a low of 46,928 points and finally closed flat at 47,135 (+12 points).

“Going forward, the market can be expected to undergo further correction in coming days amid a lack of triggers and buyer interest,” she said. “Investors are advised to exercise caution and adopt a buy-on-dip strategy in steel, technology and cement sectors.”

Overall trading volumes rose to 370 million shares compared with Monday’s tally of 337.3 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs12.1 billion.

Shares of 475 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 224 stocks closed higher, 228 declined and 23 remained unchanged.

WorldCall Telecom was the volume leader with 42.9 million shares, gaining Rs0.09 to close at Rs3.45. It was followed by Telecard Limited with 29.4 million shares, gaining Rs0.98 to close at Rs17.41 and Azgard Nine with 28.4 million shares, gaining Rs0.69 to close at Rs30.02.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs90 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.