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Despite 2021 being a tough year for investors at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), listed companies paid roughly Rs500 billion in cash dividends, said spokesperson of Ministry of Finance Muzzammil Aslam in a tweet post on Monday.

Sharing sector-wise list of cash dividends, it was learnt that the banking sector paid the highest cash dividend to the tune of Rs139 billion in CY21, while Oil & Gas companies were second on the list, paying Rs71.12 billion to their stockholders.

Meanwhile, fertiliser, power generation and distribution, food, and chemical sector paid cash dividend of Rs59 billion, Rs34 billion, Rs26 billion and Rs 25.7 billion, respectively.

"Listed companies in Pakistan distributed record cash dividend of Rupees 500 billion in 2021," tweeted Aslam, who was also appointed spokesperson for the energy ministry on Monday.

The multi-billion-dollar cash dividend comes despite 2021 offering very little in terms of returns to stock market investors. The KSE-100 offered a meagre 2% return in rupee term, and a negative 8% return in US dollar term, much lower than the last 30-year CAGR of 12%.

KSE-100 Index has underperformed despite record volume, IPOs

The benchmark KSE-100 index closed 2021 at 44,596, up 841 points. It is now 16% down from its 53,000 peak seen on May 24, 2017. Market cap is now $43 billion compared to the all-time high of $100 billion seen on May 24, 2017.

The index also underperformed the MSCI Frontier Market (MSCI FM), which gained 16%. On the other hand, MSCI Emerging (MSCI EM) fund was down 5%.

In 2021, foreign corporate selling continued to impact sentiment as net foreign selling clocked in at $359 million till December 30, 2021, as compared to $572 million in the year 2020.

Foreign selling in 2021 was mainly led by Banking, Oil and Gas Exploration and Fertiliser sectors, amounting to $167 million, $60 million and $55 million, respectively.

The KSE-100 gained 0.65% on Monday to close near the 44,900-point level.

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