Stocks, rupee end weaker after Peshawar blast

KARACHI: Pakistani stocks ended lower on Wednesday in low turnover after a car bomb killed more than 90 people and wounded several others in a crowded market in the city of Peshawar.

The Karachi Stock Exchange’s benchmark 100-share index ended 0.69 per cent, or 63.85 points, lower at 9,251.84 on turnover of 128.2 million shares.

The KSE-index has gained 57.74 per cent this year after losing 58.33 per cent last year.

‘Despite strong corporate results and good valuations, the deteriorating law and order situation is keeping fresh investment at bay,’ said Asad Iqbal, managing director at Ismail Iqbal Securities Ltd.

Dealers said there was no panic selling as market fundamentals were strong but investors were largely on the sidelines because of the worsening security situation.

The blast in Peshawar was the deadliest in Pakistan for two years. The country has been on high alert amid fears of retaliatory strikes by Taliban militants as the army attacks their strongholds in South Waziristan on the Afghan border.

The KSE-index shed 7 per cent last week.

In the currency market, the rupee ended weaker at 83.54/59 to the dollar compared with Tuesday’s close of 83.27/37 due to the rising violence as well as import payments.

The rupee has been supported by remittances from Pakistanis working overseas, but dealers expect pressure from importers will weaken the currency.

The rupee has weakened 5 per cent this year after losing 22.12 per cent last year.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a $7.6 billion emergency package for Pakistan last November to avert a balance of payments crisis.

The loan was increased to $11.3 billion in July.

Pakistan officials are due to meet IMF officials in Dubai from Nov 2 to Nov 12 for a third review of Pakistan’s economic performance.—Reuters

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