The Pakistan Stock Exchange on Wednesday endured a dull session as the benchmark KSE-100 index closed with a marginal loss because of the dearth of positive triggers.

A rebound in global energy and commodity prices pointed to a further increase in inflation reading in the country, which restricted the KSE-100 index from posting gains.

The market remained range bound throughout the day as investors adopted a wait-and-watch stance ahead of monetary policy announcement next week.

The rupee failed to take a breather as it fell below the 177 barrier against the dollar in inter-bank market, which added to selling pressure at the bourse.

Earlier, trading began with a short-lived spike but the market dived and registered losses after a few minutes. From that point onwards, the index traded in a narrow range as bulls and bears vied to take control of the bourse. However, the lack of developments resulted in the index ending trading on a flat note.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a decrease of 6.62 points, or 0.02%, to settle at 43,846.87.

A report of Arif Habib Limited stated that the market remained range bound with low volumes and lacklustre activity across the board.

“KSE-100 went up 285 points during the day but could not manage to sustain the positive momentum,” it said.

Activity was witnessed mainly in exploration and production stocks on expectations of resolution of circular debt issue in the gas sector. Technology stocks underwent a sharp pullback with good volumes, the report added.

JS Global analyst Muhammad Mubashir said that the bourse witnessed range-bound activity as the KSE-100 touched a high and low of 44,139 and 43,653 points respectively. The index closed flat at 43,847 points.

Total traded volume stood at 233 million shares with Hascol Petroleum (+10.7%), Telecard (+5.9%) and Treet Corporation (-0.8%) being the top volume leaders.

Healthy participation was witnessed in tech stocks, mainly TRG Pakistan (+7.5%), Telecard (+5.9%), NetSol (+3.3%) and Avanceon (+2.4%).

“Going forward, we expect the index to remain range-bound due to the expected interest rate hike in the upcoming monetary policy announcement,” the analyst said.

“We recommend investors to avail any downside as an opportunity for buying in banking, exploration and production sectors.”

Overall trading volumes rose to 233.2 million shares compared with Tuesday’s tally of 229.4 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs7 billion.

Shares of 350 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 134 stocks closed higher, 196 declined and 20 remained unchanged.

Hascol Petroleum was the volume leader with 57.5 million shares, gaining Rs0.65 to close at Rs6.7. It was followed by Telecard Limited XB with 21.8 million shares, gaining Rs0.87 to close at Rs15.57 and Treet Corp with 11.1 million shares, losing Rs0.32 to close at Rs41.45.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs123.09 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.