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Profit-taking was witnessed at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) as its benchmark KSE-100 index lost 368 points during trading on Monday.

The KSE-100 started off positive, but bears managed to take over the market and dominated till the end of the session.

At close, the benchmark index settled at 64,269.38, down by 368.26 points or 0.57%.

During the previous week, the PSX witnessed mixed trend with low trading activity as investors opted to remain on the sidelines and avoided taking a fresh position on their concerns over political noise in the country. The benchmark KSE-100 index gained just 122.74 points on week-on-week basis and closed at 64,637.64 points.

Political noise could be the reason for today’s bearish session, as the bulls were not able to make the most of the completion of the first review by the the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board of the $3 billion Stand-by Arrangement (SBA) last week.

Moreover, talks of a rate cut in the upcoming Monetary Policy Committee meeting of the State Bank of Pakistan couldn’t boost sentiment in the market on Monday.

Globally, Asian markets rose Monday as traders weighed US inflation data that revived hopes for an early interest rate cut, but gains were tempered by geopolitical worries after fresh US-UK strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen.

The new raids on the Iran-backed rebels came after they threatened further attacks on Red Sea shipping in response to similar moves by Western forces on Friday.

The developments sent oil prices surging around four percent Friday before the gains were pared as traders eyed a pick-up in non-OPEC production and signs of a slowing global economy.

However, there are worries that the crisis, which comes as Israel continues its aggression in Gaza, could erupt into a regional conflict that would likely hammer trade routes and send crude soaring past $100.

Bloomberg reported that several oil tanker owners with more than 350 vessels had paused journeys through the Red Sea, with more likely to follow as Western forces warn ships to stay away.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani rupee maintained its positive trajectory against the US dollar for the ninth consecutive session, appreciating 0.04% in the inter-bank market on Monday. As per the State Bank of Pakistan, the local unit settled at 280.24 after an increase of Re0.12 against the greenback.

Volume on the all-share index decreased to 382 million from 643.3 million a session before.

The value of shares declined to Rs14 billion from Rs20 billion in the previous session.

K-Electric Ltd was the volume leader with 55 million shares, followed by Pak Int.Bulk with 37.6 million shares, and WorldCall Telecom at 25 million shares.

Shares of 363 companies were traded on Monday, of which 96 registered an increase, 249 recorded a fall, while 18 remained unchanged.

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