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Mayhem at the Karachi Stock Exchange

November 09, 2007 16:25 IST
It was mayhem at Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) this week with foreign investors withdrawing around $185 million from equity and $50 million from government bonds on four trading days after imposition of emergency by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

A senior fund manager, who provided the figures, said foreign selling flowed out like an avalanche, sweeping away more than five per cent off the prices of some leading banks and insurance companies.

From Monday to Thursday, market capitalistion of the insurance and banking sectors declined by 6.5 per cent and 5.2 per cent respectively, the Dawn newspaper reported on Friday.

Figures of possible outflows during the four trading days of mayhem at the market, prompted by the political uncertainty and the emergency imposed Musharraf, varied from analyst to analyst, but most of them thought it could hardly have been below $160 mn.

Since the aggregate foreign portfolio investment stands at $850 mn (excluding those in GRDs), the outflow was a substantial 20 per cent of the overseas equity investment, traders said.

Both Moody's and S&P have downgraded Pakistan's credit rating outlook from stable to negative and a trader said this had made fund managers wary about remaining in the Pakistani equity market in spite of its attractive valuations.

Overall, the KSE-100 index shed 491 points during the week. Volatility on Thursday, like the day earlier, was exceptionally high with the index oscillating 311 points between the low and high for the day.

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