Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pakistani Investors Stone Karachi Exchange as Stocks Plunge (But We Outlawed Short-Selling!)

From Bloomberg:
Pakistan investors stormed out of the Karachi Stock Exchange, smashed windows and cursed regulators after the benchmark index fell for a 15th day, the worst losing streak in at least 18 years.

``I have lost my life savings in the last 15 days and no one in the government or regulators came to help us,'' said Imran Inayat, 45, a protester and a former banker who retired early and said he lost 300,000 rupees ($4,175) on the market.

Police surrounded the exchange after hundreds of investors stoned the building and shouted anti-government slogans. They directed their ire at the government and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, which this week removed a 1 percent daily limit on price declines. The measure was aimed at halting a slide that wiped out $30 billion of Pakistan's market value in three months, threatening to undo a 14-fold rally since 2001....MORE

From South Asia Investor Review (June 25):

Karachi Stocks Rally after Ban on Short Selling

Pakistan's KSE-100 index has gained more than a thousand points in two days bringing it back above 12000 points but still well below the 15739.25 reached on April 21. The latest rally was triggered by several joint measures by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and the Karachi Stock Exchange. The measures included a 1-month ban on short selling, a special 30 billion rupee ($446 million) fund set up to stabilize volatility, and revision of the short circuits to 10% on the upside and 1% on the downside.

The new measures could reduce the downside while "creating incentives for the KSE-100 to increase," said Khalid Iqbal Siddiqui, head of research at Invest & Finance Securities, speaking to the Wall Street Journal.

Some 78 companies of the 650 listed on the KSE gained close to the new limit of 10% on Tuesday. Among those that jumped 10% were Oil & Gas Development, National Bank of Pakistan and Lucky Cement....MORE

We are not Karachi come-lately's. From a CI post last November:

...And the market moved between an acceptably narrow band of 230 to 300 points decline until midday when all hell broke loose....

...So, should the KSE Board or the frontline regulator -- the KSE management -- has moved in to calm the investors’ fears. “We cannot be expected to comment on rumours,” says Shaukat Tarin, the chairman of the Board of Directors of KSE, adding: “If we were to do that, we would be doing just that and nothing else”