LAHORE - Pakistan equities Wednesday witnessed a volatile session where the index traded in wide range of 37,897-38,826 (929 points) as investors anxiously await Pakistan’s entry into IMF programme.

Further, with IMF’s downward revision of Pakistan’s key economic indicators in its recent World Economic outlook (WEO) report, investors became skeptical about corporate earnings going forward. This led cyclical sectors like Autos to drag index down by 32 points.

Later in the second half, financial sector led the rally where the benchmark index closed with +287 points (or 0.75 percent) with MCB and UBL +3 percent and +4 percent respectively. Autos continued to remain under pressure where INDU, PSMC and HCAR closed down 4.8 percent, 5 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively as condition of being a filer to purchase new vehicles took its toll on the sector.

Overall, volumes witnessed decline of 11 percent vs last day while value fell 27 percent. Among sectors, technology remained top traded with volumetric activity of 35mn shares, followed by chemicals 27mn shares and cements 23mn shares.

The US dollar continued to spike for a second day as it was being sold for Rs136 in the open market. General Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan Secretary Zafar Paracha said the dollar is being bought at Rs134 and sold at Rs136 in the open market, which is also affecting the stock market.

Experts said that Pakistan has not yet formally approached the International Monetary Fund for financial assistance, but if bailout talks get underway this week, the goal will be to help Pakistan reach its full potential, as per IMF’s chief economist. Addressing a news conference at the IMF and World Bank annual meetings in Bali, the IMF’s Maurice Obstfeld cautioned that increased Chinese involvement in Pakistan’s economy could bring both benefits and risks.