The Pakistan Stock Exchange endured another dull session on Tuesday, as trading activity remained range bound throughout the session, which closed in the red.

A lack of positive triggers coupled with fears over rising Covid-19 infections in the country continued to haunt the market players as the benchmark KSE-100 index shed another 105 points.

Moreover, the depreciation of the rupee against the greenback amid increasing crude oil and commodity prices in the international market added to the woes of investors, who opted to stay on the sidelines.

Brent crude prices climbed to their highest level since 2014, which sparked panic among local investors as a high import bill would further widen the current account deficit.

Earlier, the trading session kicked off with a brief rally and the benchmark KSE-100 index touched an intra-day high of 45,758 points in early trading. However, sceptical investors dragged the index into the red zone soon.

The index, after oscillating in a narrow range throughout the day, managed to recoup some of the losses owing to a brief buying spell in the final hour.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a decline of 104.79 points, or 0.23%, to settle at 45,507.41.

A report of Arif Habib Limited stated that the market continued to remain range bound due to the uptick in Covid-19 cases and higher international oil prices.

The market opened on a bleak note and stayed dull throughout the day, it said. In the power sector, Hub Power was in the limelight as it announced an interim cash dividend of Rs6.5 per share.

In the last trading hour, profit-taking was witnessed due to the upcoming monetary policy and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) board meeting on January 28.

The market continued to trade sideways as it witnessed hefty volumes in third-tier stocks, the report said.

Sectors contributing to the performance included cement (-55 points), commercial banks (-39 points), power (-26 points), technology (-24 points) and textile composite (-11 points).

JS Global analyst Neelam Naz said that the rising Covid-19 cases and the lack of positive triggers resulted in a range-bound activity at the bourse.

The benchmark index touched intra-day high and low of 45,758 and 45,469 points respectively to close the day at 45,507.

Major laggards were Hub Power, Lucky Cement, Bank AL Habib, Standard Chartered and Cherat Cement. Volume leaders were TRG Pakistan, WorldCall Telecom, Hub Power, Telecard Limited and Cnergyico Pk.

 “Going forward, a buy-on-dip strategy is advised, especially in oil and gas exploration, oil marketing and fertiliser sectors,” the analyst said.

Overall trading volumes decreased to 165.1 million shares compared with Monday’s tally of 173.5 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs7.6 billion.

Shares of 350 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 129 stocks closed higher, 199 declined and 22 remained unchanged.

TRG Pakistan was the volume leader with 20.7 million shares, losing Rs0.93 to close at Rs95.52. It was followed by WorldCall Telecom with 17.7 million shares, losing Rs0.03 to close at Rs2.34 and Hub Power with 8.1 million shares, losing Rs1.12 to close at Rs79.67.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs395.55 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.