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US stocks 2.2pc lower to finish bruising week

Major US stock indices slumped more than two percent on Friday to conclude a bruising week for markets rattled by the US-China trade clash.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 2.2 percent, or more than 550 points, at 24,388.95. The broad-based S&P 500 slumped 2.3 percent to 2,633.08, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 3.1 percent to 6,969.25. The losses ended the worst week for US stocks since March and left both the Dow and S&P 500 in negative territory for the year.

The declines followed a mixed US jobs report that had initially helped lift stocks early in the session. US stocks had opened the week on a positive note after Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed over the weekend on a ceasefire on new tariffs. But sentiment soon shifted, especially following the US-initiated arrest of a top Chinese Huawei executive that was seen as exacerbating the US-China clash. Most sectors were sharply lower on Wall Street, with industrials, consumer discretionary and technology all losing two percent or more. Losses among energy shares were comparatively small after an OPEC deal boosted oil prices. But shares of Chevron, ExxonMobil and others also finished the session in the red.

KSE-100 stages modest recovery with 261-point gain

A day after tumbling over 1,000 points, the Pakistan Stock Exchange staged a modest recovery on Friday and gained 261 points, closing above the 38,500 mark. At the start of trading, stocks traded briefly in the green zone before a bear-run prevailed, which struck 500 points off the benchmark index. However, most of the losses were wiped off by the end of the first session as investors began cherry-picking of stocks.

The positive rally continued in the second half as well and the market ended the day in the green. Exploration and production stocks bore the brunt of dented sentiments following two massive falls in the KSE-100 index in the current week. Other index-heavy stocks moved higher.

At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded an increase of 261.42 points or 0.68 percent to settle at 38,562.05. Overall, trading volumes decreased to 128.5 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 189.8 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs6.7 billion. Shares of 354 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 228 stocks closed higher, 108 declined and 15 remained unchanged. K-Electric was the volume leader with 13.9 million shares, gaining Rs0.35 to close at Rs5.53. It was followed by Pak Elektron with 12 million shares, losing Rs0.09 to close at Rs24.81 and Lotte Chemical with 7.1 million shares, gaining Rs0.03 to close at Rs18.42. Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs106.7 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.


Saudi Arabia stocks decline

Saudi Arabia stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Industrial Investment, Hotels & Tourism and Petrochemicals sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Saudi Arabia, the Tadawul All Share declined 0.44 percent. The best performers of the session on the Tadawul All Share were Mobile Telecommunications Company, which rose 6.34 percent or 0.42 points to trade at 7.04 at the close. Meanwhile, Solidarity Saudi Takaful Co added 5.30 percent or 0.80 points to end at 15.90 and Eastern Province Cement Co. was up 4.82 percent or 0.94 points to 20.44 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Saudi Cable Company, which fell 2.87 percent or 1.10 points to trade at 37.20 at the close. Saudi Industrial Export Co declined 2.73 percent or 2.70 points to end at 96.20 and Yanbu National Petrochemical Co was down 2.45 percent or 1.70 points to 67.70. Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Saudi Arabia Stock Exchange by 121 to 50 and 15 ended unchanged.

India Sensex index moves higher

Indian markets rose over one percent on Friday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) ended talks without a deal on oil production cuts when the markets closed.

BSE’s 30 share benchmark Sensex rose 1.02 percent or 361.12 points to closed at 35,673.25, while the National Stock Exchange’s 50 share index Nifty climbed 0.87percent to 10,693.70 points. Later, OPEC and its Russia-led allies moved closer to clinching a deal that would cut oil production by more than the market had expected. The producer club will curb output by 0.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from January while non-OPEC allies contribute an additional 0.4 million bpd of cuts, Iraqi oil minister Thamer Ghadban said after OPEC concluded two days of talks in Vienna. However, domestic institutional investors (DIIs) continue to sell in equities ahead of state election results. So far in December, DIIs have sold nearly 2,500 crore worth of Indian shares. For the year to date, DIIs have invested a net of 1.06 trillion while foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have pulled out a net of $4.91 billion in Indian equities.

Brokers hit out at Hong Kong stock exchange trading proposals

Hong Kong stockbrokers have raised the alarm over new rules proposed by the city’s stock exchange operator that would automatically suspend trading in companies whose auditors have issued unfavorable comments on their financial statements. The Hong Kong Securities Association, an industry group with more than 1,100 members from roughly 350 companies representing more than 70 percent of the city’s stockbrokers, says the rules would curtail investors’ freedom of action, potentially damaging the value of their holdings.

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