Pakistan equities closed marginally negative Thursday with benchmark KSE-100 Index settling at 39,244 points level, down 28 points. Market opened red amid dull volumes yet benchmark KSE100 Index traded in a pressure for most part of the day with an intra day low of 492 points as investors traded cautiously awaiting mini-budget due on 23rd January however activity witnessed improvement in final trading hour as local institutions turned selective buyers in Energy and selected sideboards stocks. AAH Securities’ analyst said index ended in red in a highly volatile trading session. Index declined over 491 points in mid-day trading and remained in 38,000 points territory through most of the session on weaker larger-scale manufacturing numbers and 19.2 percent decline in foreign direct investments (FDI) in first half of Fiscal Year 2018-19 (FY19). However, in later hours benchmark recovered back into 39,000 points level as UAE shared details related to USD 3.3 billiion package and exports revealed 41 percent growth in food exports. Investors remained cautious in the entire week and stayed reluctant to take fresh positions in the market. However, the last day of the week also turned out to be depressing even though a The government has agreed to abolish 0.02 per cent advance tax on sale and purchase of shares in the upcoming mini-budget which was a major demand of the stock market players, said an analyst at Trust Securities & Brokerage Limited. Investors tracked down developments as the large-scale manufacturing industries of the country has witnessed a decline of 0.9 percentc during the first five months of the current fiscal year as compared to the corresponding period of last year. Volumes charts again dominated by retail names i.e. Bank Of Panjab (BOP), TRG Pakistan Limited (TRG) and K-Electric Limited (KEL) collectively traded 28 million shares. An equity analyst at Elixir Research Murtaza Jafar expects market to take immediate support around 38,800-38,700 Levels. Published in Daily Times, January 18th 2019.