Bears once again dominated trading at the stock market on Monday as selling pressure due to uncertainty about oil prices in the international market weighed on oil sector stocks.

Domestic oil stocks bore the brunt of mixed international crude prices as a better-than-expected quarterly rebound for China’s economy countered fears over soaring Covid-19 cases around the world and tight restrictions that could dent economic growth and fuel consumption. Most of the oil-related stocks at the local bourse lost ground.

Moreover, the market remained under the grip of economic certainty, fuelled by concerns about revival of International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan programme. The pessimism triggered selling pressure and market participants resorted to profit-booking.

Earlier, trading kicked off on a positive note, however, the sombre mood coupled with economic and political uncertainty prevented the market from posting significant gains.

The bourse kept oscillating between red and green zones but it largely remained in the red as nervousness was very well noted in index-heavy stocks, which came under selling pressure.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a decrease of 204.32 points, or 0.44%, to settle at 45,726.68 points.

Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that the market traded in a range of -217 points and +117 points. It closed the session in the red, down 204 points.

Profit-booking was witnessed in exploration and production, fertiliser, oil and gas marketing, cement and banking sectors.

“Regression in international crude prices became the reason for negative sentiment in the exploration and production sector, on the other hand continuous foreign selling in the fertiliser sector pulled prices down,” the report added.

“Investors awaited the Election Commission’s decision in a foreign funding case, which was also a reason for booking profit.”

Sectors contributing to the performance included exploration and production (-118 points), oil and gas marketing (-34 points), power (-33 points), cement (-30 points) and food (-15 points).

Individually, stocks that contributed positively to the index included TRG Pakistan (+78 points), UBL (+29 points), Faysal Bank (+13 points), Shifa International Hospitals (+13 points) and Habib Metropolitan Bank (+10 points).

Stocks that contributed negatively were Pakistan Petroleum (-43 points), Oil and Gas Development Company (-41 points), Hubco (-35 points), Pakistan Oilfields (-28 points) and Lucky Cement (-22 points).

JS Global analyst Danish Ladhani said the KSE-100 index endured a jittery ride after trading sideways at the start of the session. “However, in the latter half, profit-taking by institutions was witnessed,” he said.

Total traded volume stood at 544 million shares with major contribution coming from sideboard stocks which included TRG Pakistan (+7.2%), Fauji Foods (+6.6%), K-Electric (-3.1%), Hum Network (+3.6%), Unity Foods (+2.1%) and Jahangir Siddiqui & Co (+4.3%).

The textile sector remained under the limelight where Nishat Chunian (+6.3%) closed near its upper circuit as textile exports rose 7.7% year-on-year, led by knitted garments and hosiery, in the first half of current fiscal year, Ladhani stated.

Furthermore, according to news reports, the circular debt was projected to cross the Rs2.8 trillion mark by June 30, he said.

On the oil front, crude oil prices weakened in the international market in the wake of rising corona cases. Consequently, Pakistan Petroleum (-2.8%), Oil and Gas Development Company (-2.4%) and Pakistan Oilfields (-2.2%) closed in the negative zone.

“Moving forward, we recommend investors to stay cautious and avail themselves of opportunity to buy on any major dip,” the analyst said.

Overall, trading volumes rose to 543.6 million shares compared with Friday’s tally of 531.1 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs21.7 billion.

Shares of 427 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 163 stocks closed higher, 245 declined and 19 remained unchanged.

TRG Pakistan was the volume leader with 47.6 million shares, gaining Rs6.98 to close at Rs103.49. It was followed by Fauji Foods with 44.6 million shares, gaining Rs1.19 to close at Rs19.11 and K-Electric with 33 million shares, losing Rs0.13 to close at Rs4.06.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs762.3 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.