The stock market once again turned bearish on Friday as investors were concerned about the monetary policy announcement later in the day by the State Bank of Pakistan.

The central bank left the benchmark policy rate unchanged at 7% for the next two months.

Moreover, the news of increase in power tariff lent support to the downtrend as market participants divested their stockholdings. The government announced a tariff hike of Rs1.95 per unit on Thursday.

A brief stay in the green zone at regular intervals was in line with performance of the global and regional equity markets.

Earlier, taking cue from the previous session, the market opened on a positive note and surpassed the 46,000-point mark during initial trading. However, bears took over control during the second session and with that the market plunged. Towards the end of trading, optimism over the monetary policy helped erase some of the losses.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a decrease of 116.42 points, or 0.25%, to settle at 45,868.04 points.

Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that the market oscillated in a range of +132 points and -294 points. It closed the day in the red.

“Global stock markets have taken a breather since last (Thursday) evening, which spilled over to regional markets as well,” it said.

The KSE-100 index recorded across-the-board selling on concern over the monetary policy decision, which was announced in the last hour of trading, and redemption from mutual funds.

Furthermore, the increase in electricity tariff affected investors’ sentiment because of its likely impact on manufacturing concerns.

Sectors contributing to the performance included exploration and production (-51 points), fertiliser (-21 points), technology (-19 points), oil and gas marketing (-16 points) and power (-13 points).

Individually, stocks that contributed positively to the index included Systems Limited (+21 points), Kohinoor Textile Mills (+15 points), Faysal Bank (+13 points), Fauji Fertiliser Bin Qasim (+12 points) and International Industries (+11 points).

Stocks that contributed negatively were TRG Pakistan (-40 points), Engro Corporation (-16 points), Mari Petroleum (-16 points), Pakistan Petroleum (-14 points) and Oil and Gas Development Company (-14 points).

JS Global analyst Danish Ladhani said the KSE-100 closed in the negative zone after enduring a range-bound session. It touched intraday high and low of +132 points and -294 points respectively, and closed nearly 0.3% lower than the previous day.

Total traded volume stood at 431 million shares. Sideboard stocks were the main contributors where K-Electric (-3.3%), Fauji Foods (+0.3%), Invest Capital Investment Bank (+28%), Pakistan International Bulk Terminal (+1.7%), Fauji Fertiliser Bin Qasim (+3.1%) and TRG Pakistan (-2.4%) were the volume leaders.

“The market traded sideways throughout the day,” he added. Mixed sentiment was seen in the cement sector where Pioneer Cement (+1.2%), Power Cement (+0.3%) and Maple Leaf Cement (+0.6%) remained in the green whereas Lucky Cement (-0.1%), Cherat Cement (-0.9%), DG Khan Cement (-0.4%) and Kohat Cement (-1.2%) were in the red.

In the oil sector, Pakistan Oilfields (-0.5%), Pakistan Petroleum (-0.9%) and Oil and Gas Development Company (-0.7%) lost ground as oil prices fell in the international market in the wake of surging Covid-19 cases in China which triggered clampdowns.

“We recommend investors to take any downside as an opportunity to buy stocks,” the analyst said.

Overall, trading volumes fell to 430.6 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 606.4 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs15.8 billion.

Shares of 391 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 142 stocks closed higher, 232 declined and 17 remained unchanged.

K-Electric was the volume leader with 54.1 million shares, losing Rs0.14 to close at Rs4.11. It was followed by Fauji Foods with 24.7 million shares, gaining Rs0.05 to close at Rs19.15 and Invest Capital Investment Bank with 23.7 million shares, gaining Rs0.76 to close at Rs3.47.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs98.8 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.