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Days of bullish momentum made way for selling pressure on Wednesday as the Pakistan Stock Exchange’s (PSX) benchmark KSE-100 Index lost over 1% to close the session below 80,000.

The KSE-100 started the session positive, hitting an intra-day high of 80,971.96.

However, the bears gained momentum soon and pushed the index into negative territory.

At close, the benchmark index settled at 79,841.56, down by 830.51 or 1.03%.

Selling was witnessed in key sectors including cement, commercial banks, engineering, fertiliser, oil and gas exploration companies, OMCs, and refineries.

Index-heavy stocks including OGDC, POL, PPL, PSO, HBL, MEBL and NBP were in the negative.

Pakistan stocks had been on a winning run ever since the budget saw no new taxes on the capital markets. Additionally, the hope of a new deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also kept participants optimistic about economic stability.

In a key development, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Wednesday that he will personally oversee the process of downsizing and rightsizing in the government sector and warned that he will not tolerate any delaying tactics in this regard.

On Tuesday, PM Shehbaz announced a Rs50-billion energy subsidy package for low-income households that consume less than 200 units of electricity.

“We are giving this respite for three months: July, August and September,” Shehbaz told a press conference on Tuesday, with a view to cooling temperatures in October when electricity consumption falls.

Equities at the PSX had maintained their upward trajectory on Tuesday, as the KSE-100 closed 106 points higher after briefly crossing 81,000 for the first time in history.

Globally, Asian stocks hovered near two-year highs on Wednesday on growing bets of imminent US rate cuts, while the New Zealand dollar slid after its central bank signalled greater confidence that inflation was coming to heel.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.09% and remained close to the more than two-year high hit at the start of the week.

Stocks have rallied globally on the back of growing expectations of a Fed easing cycle likely to commence in September, with Powell saying on Tuesday that the US is “no longer an overheated economy”.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani rupee registered a marginal decline, depreciating 0.04% against the US dollar in the inter-bank market on Wednesday. At close, the local unit settled at 278.51, a loss of Re0.11 against the greenback, according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

Volume on the all-share index decreased to 495.91 million from 610.26 million in the previous session.

The value of shares declined to Rs22.11 billion from Rs24.32 billion in the last session.

K-Electric Ltd was the volume leader with 57.72 million shares, followed by PIA Holding Company with 43.04 million shares, and Unity Foods Ltd with 28.63 million shares.

Shares of 440 companies were traded on Wednesday, of which 153 registered an increase, 241 recorded a fall, while 46 remained unchanged.

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