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Selling pressure was observed at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) as the benchmark KSE-100 Index lost 578 points during trading on Monday.

The KSE-100 started the session positive, hitting an intra-day high of 79,388.12.

However, profit-taking kicked in and pushed the index into the negative territory.

At close, the benchmark index settled at 78,232.10, down by 578.40 points or 0.73%.

Earlier, selling was witnessed in key sectors including automobile assemblers, cement, commercial banks, oil and gas exploration companies, OMCs and pharmaceuticals.

Index-heavy stocks including OGDC, PPL, PSO, SHEL, MCB and MEBL were in the red.

The PSX witnessed a bullish trend during the previous two-day trading week, and has gained since the budget announcement that did not put forward any negative taxation proposals.

“The market is likely to remain range-bound in the near term,” said Intermarket Securities Limited in a note on Monday.

“The next milestone for the market is the passing of the budget in parliament now that the Pakistan’s Peoples Party (PPP) has seemingly held back its concerns. This will pave way for recommencement of talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a new programme,” it added.

The brokerage house was of the view that the initiation of a new military operation against militants in the country, Azm-estehkam, is a positive step.

“Potentially better security conditions will bode well for FDI and market perception among foreign investors,” it added.

Globally, Asia shares slipped on Monday in a countdown for US price data that investors are banking on to show a renewed moderation in inflation, while markets were on alert for possible Japanese intervention as the dollar tested the 160 yen barrier.

Geopolitics also loomed large, with the first US presidential debate on Thursday and the first round of voting in the French election at the weekend.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.9%, after touching a two-year top last week. South Korean stocks fell 0.8%.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani rupee registered a marginal loss against the US dollar, depreciating 0.04% in the inter-bank market on Monday. At close, the local unit settled at 278.62, a loss of Re0.11 against the greenback.

Volume on the all-share index decreased to 385.17 million from 471.34 million a session ago.

The value of shares declined to Rs15.45 billion from Rs20.47 billion in the previous session.

Pervez Ahmed Co was the volume leader with 46.84 million shares, followed by WorldCall Telecom with 20.76 million shares, and Hub Power Co. with 20.11 million shares.

Shares of 432 companies were traded on Monday, of which 122 registered an increase, 254 recorded a fall, while 56 remained unchanged.

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