A roller coaster ride was witnessed at the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Thursday and the benchmark KSE-100 index fell steeply in late trading, closing down by nearly 600 points.

Investors offloaded their stockholdings over a lack of positive triggers as the market succumbed to selling pressure.

Owing to profit-booking, index-heavy automobile, financial, fertiliser and oil sectors experienced significant losses. On the other hand, a few cement sector stocks turned attractive and were bought by investors.

Earlier, trading began with a spike, but weak investor sentiment erased all the gains in initial trading. Pressured by a selling spree, the KSE-100 index dived towards the end of session, closing near 46,000 points.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a decrease of 588.77 points, or 1.26%, to settle at 46,055.52 points.

Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that the market recorded yet another historic high volume, however, the index slid 589 points after posting an increase of 291 points.

The cement sector performed well earlier in the session with Pioneer Cement and DG Khan Cement hitting their upper circuit.

Banks, exploration and production and oil and gas marketing companies faced aggressive selling which brought the index down.

The cement sector also came selling pressure with a significant decline in Maple Leaf Cement, which pushed the stock price below previous day’s level, the report said.

JS Global analyst Danish Ladhani said the KSE-100 succumbed to selling pressure in the second half of trading session as it finally closed at 46,056, down 1.3%. The index hit a high and low of +291 and -684 points respectively.

Despite gains in the cement sector, several sectors came under selling pressure. Activity was seen in DG Khan Cement (+5.1%) and Fauji Cement (+1.5%) after an exceptionally long time.

Total traded volume stood at 1.1 billion shares. “Looking at the trend, we believe profit-booking can continue and recommend investors to buy on further dips,” he said.

Overall, trading volumes climbed to 1.12 billion shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 1.01 billion. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs35.6 billion.

Shares of 415 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 92 stocks closed higher, 313 declined and 10 remained unchanged.

WorldCall Telecom was the volume leader with 353.6 million shares, losing Rs0.17 to close at Rs1.51. It was followed by Telecard Limited with 97.5 million shares, losing Rs0.81 to close at Rs6.08 and K-Electric with 47.1 million shares, losing Rs0.21 to close at Rs4.33.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs22.8 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.