The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) witnessed a low-volume and bearish session on Friday, with the benchmark KSE-100 Index shedding 148.52 (-0.34 percent) to close at 44,118.39 points. The market opened on a positive note and remained almost positive during the first half of the session; however, the profit-taking activity gripped the market in the second session and the market failed to turn to the green territory in the entire second half. The KSE-100 Index moved in a range of 426.33 points, showing an intraday high of 44,467.85 points and a low of 44,041.52 points. Among other indices, the KSE All Share Index shed 92.64 points (-0.31 percent) to close at 30,203.93 points, while KMI All Share Islamic Index shed 49.97 points (-0.23 percent) to close at 21,794.6 points. A total of 363 companies traded shares in the stock exchange, out of them shares of 143 closed up, shares of 196 closed down while shares of 24 companies remained unchanged. Out of 96 traded companies in the KSE-100 Index, 38 closed up, 57 closed down and one remained unchanged. The overall market volumes decreased by 17.05 million to 223.38 million shares. Total volumes traded for the KSE-100 Index decreased by 14.09 million to 70.96 million shares. The number of total trades decreased by 696 to 99,122, while the value traded decreased by Rs0.68 billion to Rs7.34. Among scrips, UNITYR3 topped the volumes with 33.5 million shares, followed by HUMNL (24.16 million) and TRG (20.58 million). Stocks that contributed significantly to the volumes included UNITYR3, HUMNL, TRG, TPLP, and UNITY, which formed around 46 percent of total volumes. The major sectors taking the index toward south were technology and communication (-60 points), chemical (-36 points), cement (-25 points) oil and gas exploration companies (-17 points) and textile (-9 points). The major sectors taking the index toward north were food & personal care products, pharmaceuticals, power generation & distribution, engineering, fertilizer. According to experts, the news of the upcoming mini-budget played on investors’ minds and they resorted to offloading their stockholdings ahead of the introduction of stringent measures for resuming the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) $6 billion loan programme. They said that institutional buyers in the second session started fetching value stocks due to attractive multiples. A report from Arif Habib Limited noted that the battle between bulls and bears was conquered by the bears in the last trading hour. “The market opened with a positive momentum as SBP conducted another open market operation (OMO) for 63 days,” the report said, adding that optimistic approach faded away due to concerns of investors towards higher inflation and dip in total liquid foreign exchange reserves held by the SBP mainly due to external debt repayment. The brokerage house added that the activity continued to remain side-ways as the market witnessed hefty volumes in the third tier stocks.