KARACHI - Investors booked profits ahead of year-end close in overbought scrips across the board. The KSE 100-index Thursday plunged by 254 points to close at 34,077.92 points level, which is the second lowest in last 15 trading sessions.

Concerns for economic uncertainty amid falling exports data in cement and textile sector, new slabs on capital gains tax levy from next month, higher taxes on the corporate sector approved in Finance Bill 2015, rising circular debt in energy sector and weak global crude prices played a catalyst role in the bearish activity at KSE, commented analyst Ahsan Mehanti.

Investors remained cautious ahead of the fiscal year-end and amid continuous foreign selling in last two trading sessions.

Decline in index was mainly due to index heavy weight stocks such as OGDC down 2.73%, ENGRO 1.09%, and MLCF down 4.79%, observed Samar Iqbal at Topline Securities. Sui Southern Gas (SSGC) and Sui Northern Gas (SNGP) closed at 5% and 4% respectively on the back of expected gas tariff hike in Jul 2015. Traded volume increased by 40% to 549m shares with traded value of rose 21% to Rs13b/$127.7m, up by 8.3%.

Major trading activity was seen in second-tier stocks like Pace Pakistan (PACE), Byco Petroleum (BYCO), World Call (WTL) and (K-Electric (KEL), with traded volumes of 42mn, 41mn, 35mn and 33mn shares, respectively. Umair Hasan at JS Global stated fundamentally strong and sideboard scripts alike witnessed profit-taking. Cements ended lower with DGKC, FCCL and MLCF ending 1%, 1.5% and 4.6% lower while sideboard DCL and POWER, after their recent rally, ended at their lower circuit. Profit-taking was witnessed in the oil and gas sector as PSO, POL and PPL all ended 1.4%, 1.2% and 0.6% lower while gas tariff hike beneficiaries SSGC and SNGP ended higher by 5% and 4.8%. BYCO continued its bullish momentum as it hovered near its upper?circuit. Sideboard scripts PAEL, TRG, HUMNL and TPL ended lower by 2.1%, 3.8%, 4.4% and 3.5% as a selling spree was seen by speculators.