Investor sentiment was affected on Wednesday as the number of Covid cases increased, and oil prices continued to rise. The benchmark KSE-100 Index fell 674 points to dip below the 45,000 marks, marking the first time the index has fallen below this level. This was the largest drop in the KSE-100 Index since the massive sell-off that occurred on December 2, 2021, when the index plunged about 4.7 percent, or 2,134.99 points, to close at a record low. The KSE-100 index finished the day at 44,833.43, representing a decrease of 673.98 points, or 1.48 percent, from the previous day’s closing price. Although not as severe as in previous years, selling pressure was observed across the board, with cement, automobile, and technology companies suffering the brunt of the pressure. The total number of shares exchanged, on the other hand, was higher. After the stocks closed at the lower limit, “the initial pressure came from TRG,” according to a post-market note from brokerage house Topline Securities. “The cement industry, as well as the financial sector, came under fire.” As Capital Stake said, “the increase in the number of coronavirus cases, as well as the introduction of new coronavirus-related limitations to contain the spread of the virus, has eroded investor trust.” The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) announced fresh coronavirus-related limitations on Wednesday in an effort to keep the virus from spreading farther across the country. The meeting voted to fully ban indoor activities in towns and regions where the infection rate exceeds 10%, as part of the new limits enacted by the WHO. Meanwhile, oil prices rose for the fourth day in a row on Wednesday as an outage on a pipeline between Iraq and Turkey heightened fears about a tightening supply outlook in the midst of worrying geopolitical developments in the Middle East. The market started the day in the red because of mutual fund selling pressure, and it stayed that way throughout the day. International coal prices have continued to put pressure on the cement industry. There was significant selling across all asset classes in the last minutes of trading. In addition to cement (101.11 points), technology and communication (98.79 points), and banking, other sectors that contributed to the KSE-100’s decline included (73.03 points). Volumes climbed significantly on Wednesday, reaching 236.93 million shares on the all-share index, compared to 165.14 million shares on Tuesday. The value of shares traded jumped to Rs8.7 billion, up from Rs7.6 billion the previous day, according to the stock exchange. In terms of volume, WorldCall Telecom had 27.33 million shares, followed by TRG Pakistan Limited with 20.19 million shares and Telecard Limited with 18.79 million shares, all of which were held by the same person. On Wednesday, shares in 360 firms were exchanged, with just 56 of them showing a gain in value, 289 showing a decrease in value, and 15 remaining unchanged.