Protests continue for sixth straight day
Stocks continued their nosedive for the fourth consecutive session as the key index hit a nine-month low yesterday.
At the end of a four-hour trading session, the benchmark index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange — DSE General Index — came down to 6,052 points, marking a sharp decline of 474 points or 7.2 percent.
The government’s latest move to offload more shares led the market to panic further, insiders said. There is no demand for shares in the market and this move will only increase share supplies instead of creating demand, they added.
Both retail and institutional investors went on a selling spree, and the institutions were even more active than the retailers, said the insiders.
Salauddin Ahmed Khan, teacher of finance at Dhaka University, said most investors lost confidence in the stockmarket as it dipped continually following a credit crisis.
Institutional investors resorted to a ‘wait-and-see’ policy and avoided buying shares, he added.
He also said active investment support is needed from the government to boost investors’ depleted confidence in the market.
Fakhor Uddin Ali Ahmed, president of Chittagong Stock Exchange, said various comments from the high officials also pushed the market down.
To bring back normalcy to the market, the government could apply a buy-back method for fundamental shares, he added.
He also said mutual-fund holders should invest a majority of funds to buy shares in the stockmarket.
The free-fall in share prices also prompted hundreds of retail investors to take to the streets for the sixth day.
The aggrieved investors staged demonstrations in front of the DSE building blocking roads from Ittefaq crossing to Shapla Square for over three hours from around 12:00 noon.
They said the government has failed to restore investors’ confidence.
The offloading of shares of state enterprises was futile as it left no positive impact on the market, they added. “Rather, a severe lack of confidence exacerbated the free fall,” said one of them.
The angry investors tried to enter the DSE building at 12:20pm, but police resisted them. They chanted slogans demanding resignation of the DSE president, SEC chairman and the BB governor.
An agitating investor said the situation will might transform into something similar to Egypt if the government fails to bring back normalcy to the share market.
Abdul Halim, a retail investor, said: “My portfolio value has come down by almost 70 percent, although most of the shares in my portfolio are strong shares.”
“Many say it was a price correction, but in fact prices of all sectors dropped. It cannot be called market correction, it’s a market crash,” he said.
Some frustrated investors threatened to go on hunger strike until death from today.
Traffic returned to normal around 3:50pm after the police stepped in.
On the trading floor, losers outnumbered gainers 247 to 5, with three remaining unchanged on the DSE that traded more than 6.38 shares and mutual fund units on a value of Tk 715 crore.
Among the traded issues, 111 touched their lowest through a circuit breaker that does not allow a stock price to go down or up by a certain limit on a single trading day.
Investors of Barisal stockmarket also brought out a procession, protesting a continuous downward trend in share prices. They blocked roads, ransacked vehicles and damaged offices of brokerage houses.