Pakistan equities on Monday started the week on a bearish note with benchmark KSE 100 Index shedding more than 650 points during the trading session making an intra-day low of 40,255, closed down by 399 points. Late recovery in select blue-chips i.e. from banks and textiles pushed the Index to 40,520 at close. Trading session kicked off marginally positive however it caved into selling pressure as investors remained worried about the looming Balance of Payment crisis – latest news reports show that debt and interest payments for September-November period amount to $ 2.5 billion. Approval of Gas tariff hike in Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) meeting however brought some relief for Sui South and Sui North. Among key announcements, Nishat Power (NPL) announced its FY18 result where it declared an EPS of Rs9.07, along with final cash dividend of Rs1.5/share. Dawood Hercules Corporation Limited (DAWH) notified the exchange about terminating the transaction of Rs 17.5 billion with Edotco Pakistan. “With decision finally taken on gas tariff hike, investors would set their eyes on mini-budget to be unveiled today. The budget is expected to entail austerity measures to ensure fiscal discipline through higher taxes and reduction in development spending. Any further delays in taking these bold decisions will however dampen the sentiments further”, said Muhammad Arbash, an analyst at Elixir Research. Volumes remained subdued as 145 million shares changed hands during the day. Lotte Chemical from the chemical sector led the volumes with more than 23 million shares exchanging hands. Most of the dull activity can be attributed to political uncertainty and lack of positive triggers Moreover, almost three months after being placed on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list for failing to curb terror funding, Pakistan’s recent action against terror financing, particularly on the “legal” front, was found to be “unsatisfactory”, according to a review by the Asia Pacific Policy Group (APPG). Published in Daily Times, September 18th 2018.