The capital market declined in line with regional markets that tumbled on Monday, as tensions rose between the US and China over the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Salman Ahmad, head of institutional sales at Aba Ali Habib, said the pressure in regional markets was the main factor behind the slippage in the stock market.

However, there were several positives for the market as well such as inflation dropping to single digit and foreign exchange reserves rising over the weekend, which show that the current phenomenon was temporary.

Cement sector was once again in the limelight with several negatives on back of government’s indication that they would carry out an investigation over cement price hike, Salman added.

Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) benchmark KSE-100 shares index lost 0.57 percent or 195.00 points to close at 33,916.64 points level. KSE-30 shares index followed suit with a low of 0.83 percent or 125.53 points to end at 14,956.29 points level.

Of 353 active scrips, 155 moved up, 178 retreated, and 20 remained unchanged. The ready market volumes stood at 216.619 million shares, as compared with the turnover of 292.086 million shares in the previous session.

Ovais Ahsan, chief executive officer of Optimus Capital, said, “Market trended in to the negative zone right from the opening, reacting to steep decline in global markets which were down over three percent.”

Moreover, local sentiment was also weakened due to persistent foreign selling, as international investors sold over $60 million of positions in April alone. The total number of CVOID-19 cases crossing 20,000 and higher death toll over the weekend was also a reason for the bearish sentiment, Ahsan added.

Samiullah Tariq, director research at Arif Habib, said, “The market closed on the negative note following decline in Asian markets, triggered from Sunday when the Middle Eastern bourses were down following emergence of tiff between US and China over trade war.”

Asian markets suffered steep losses on Monday, tracking a selloff in New York after US President Donald Trump sparked fears of a renewed trade war with China over its role in the coronavirus pandemic.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index tumbled 3.7 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.8 percent. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan, Singapore, and Indonesia also fell more than two percent.

An analyst from Topline Securities said the market showed mixed sentiments with profit-taking in cements, as the government asked for explanation regarding the recent price hike by the sector.

Textiles were in lime light on expectations of resumption in export orders as lockdown was expected to ease in many countries, the analyst said.

The top gainers were Unilever Foods, up Rs650.00 close at Rs9,850.00/share, and Colgate Palmolive, Rs162.05 to finish at Rs2,322.80/share.

Mari Petroleum, down Rs44.95 to close at Rs1,124.95/share, and Atlas Honda Limited, down Rs22.00 to close at Rs350.00/share, were the main losers.

Maple Leaf recorded the highest volumes with a turnover of 18.316 million shares. Its scrip lost Re0.8 to end at Rs27.38/share.

The lowest volumes were witnessed in Summit Bank, recording a turnover of 7.520 million shares, whereas the bank’s scrip gained Re0.01 to end at Rs1.50/share.