KARACHI: On Thursday, the stock market witnessed another bout of profit-taking amid shrinking volumes ahead of the federal budget announcement due today.
However, sporadic interest was witnessed in select blue-chip stocks whose earnings are perceived to improve or be stable against the declining rupee, informed Invisor Securities SVP Hasnain Asghar Ali.
Falling global markets and a weakening currency were another factor keeping investors on the sidelines, according to Topline Securities equity dealer Samar Iqbal.
The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index dropped 0.61% or 85.14 points to end at the 13,786.62 point level. Trade volumes fell further to 125 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 129 million shares. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs5.66 billion.
“As expected, fertilisers and cements remained in limelight and key stocks traded volatile with spurs of activity driven by flows,” reported Elixir Securities analyst Faisal Bilwani. “Financials and oil were out of favour as locals fear foreign selling in key index names, given declines in global markets.”
“Locals were seen selling telecom and holding companies,” added Murtaza Jafar, analyst at JS Global.
“[The] cement sector remained under focus on conflicting news regarding reduction in excise duty in the new budget,” reported Samar Iqbal.
Shares of 366 companies were traded on Thursday. At the end of the day 106 stocks closed higher, 184 declined while 76 remained unchanged.
DG Khan Cement was the volume leader with 12.39 million shares losing Rs0.35 to finish at Rs41.14. It was followed by Jahangir Siddiqui Company (JSCL) with 11.12 million shares losing Rs0.77 to close at Rs14.85 and Engro Corporation with 9.46 million shares losing Rs0.90 to close at Rs107.60.
JSCL has indicated buying 13 million shares of Lucky Cement, at a maximum price of Rs150 per share, pending board approval. In other news, the government has revised the floor price of Pakistan Petroleum’s shares upwards to Rs190 per share, which has invited investor interest. The company has also won an exploration licence in Iraq.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs324.25 million, according to data maintained by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2012.