Benchmark KSE-100 Index traded negative Wednesday to close at 38,307 shedding 545 points on reported FII sell-off in index names after US added Pakistan and some other nations to the Blacklist for alleged religious freedom violations in the country. However US State Department later announced exemption for Pakistan, Saudi Arab and Tajikistan which failed to lift the momentum at the local bourse. The index remained negative throughout the trading session. On the news front, the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) has started facing sharp scarcity of gas due to looped short supply of gas from different gas fields. Financials took the lead in the day’s decline as collectively they contributed over 150 points to the decline in Benchmark Index with Habib Bank Limited (HBL) losing 2.85 percent, United Bank Limited (UBL) losing 2.77 percent, MCB Bank Limited MCB losing 1.63 percent and Meezan Bank Limited (MEBL) losing 4.03 percent closing deep in red. On the volume charts K- Electric Limited (KEL) losing 2.53 percent and Pak Electron Limited (PAEL) losing 2.24 percent collective traded over 32 million shares for the day. “We expect investors to await for clarity on IMF Package along with likely loan of around USD 2 billion from Chinese Financial Institutions”, said Muratza Jafar, an analyst at Elixir Research. Financials, Energy, Fertilizers and Cement sector were the major laggards in Wednesday’s trading where key stocks, HBL (-2.9%), UBL (-2.8%), MCB (-1.6%), PPL (-0.2%), OGDC (-1.4%), POL (-1.0%), ENGRO (-1.8%), EFERT (-0.6%) and LUCK (-1.2%), cumulatively contributed -230 points towards the close. Average daily traded value stood at $49 million, up 17 percent and volume stood at 146 million shares, up 17 percent from the previous trading session. Furthermore, major contribution to total market volume came from KEL (-2.5%), PAEL (+2.2%) and TRG (-4.2%). An equity analyst Danish Ladhani expects the market to remain sideways on the back of economic and political uncertainty. Published in Daily Times, December 13th 2018.