Market watch: Stocks take a breather as index rises marginally

KSE-100 edges up 7.49 points to settle at 40,468 amid volatile trading

Our Correspondent October 05, 2017

KARACHI: The trading session provided some respite to the battered stock exchange despite volatile trading on Thursday with value buying in the opening and closing hours overcoming selling pressure to take the market up a notch.

Selling pressure was the most evident in the cement sector where notable names ended in the red zone.

Ongoing political uncertainty also continued to dent investor interest amid thin trading in stocks listed on the KSE-100 index.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index registered a rise of 7.49 points or 0.02% to stand at 40,468.49.

Elixir Securities, in its report, stated that Pakistan equities closed little changed after witnessing volatile trading with the benchmark index trading in a wide range of 800 points.

“The day started on a positive note as the wider market carried momentum from the late surge yesterday (Wednesday) with the index gaining as much as 360 points in early hours to test highs above 40,800,” the report said.

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However from there on, it was all downhill as profit-taking amid shallow depth of bids on screen put the index on a path of steady decline. Cement stocks borne the brunt of selling pressure.

The final 90 minutes of trading saw the index bounce back from the 40,000 support, driven by value buying in notable blue chips. Overall, the market witnessed lower activity as turnover on the KSE All-share Index fell 15%.

One noteworthy announcement was of Pioneer Cement (-3%) that signed an MoU with sponsors of Galadari Cement to acquire a 100% stake in their 3,500-ton-per-day partially constructed plant.

“(We) expect volatile and choppy trading to continue tomorrow (Friday) while flows will set tone in the wider market in the days ahead,” Elixir added.

JS Global analyst Maaz Mulla said the market recorded a partial recovery as value investors took the opportunity to buy stocks at attractive prices.

"The KSE-100 index hit an intra-day high of 358 points, however, the recovery did not last long as the index fell to touch intra-day low of -425 points, closing up 7 points at 40,468," he said.

Volumes deteriorated by 22%, standing at 150 million shares compared to 192 million in the previous session. Major gainers were DG Khan Cement (+3.28%), Nishat Mills (+3.21%) and Engro (+1.23%) whereas on the flipside Searl (-3.77%), Attock Refinery (-2.46%) and National Refinery (-1.52%) were major contributors of negative points to the index.

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Mixed sentiments were seen in the cement sector where stocks went both ways. "Moving forward, we expect similar trend to continue unless clarity over political scenario or positive triggers on the economic front. We recommend investors to remain cautious and sell on strength," he added.

Overall, trading volumes fell to 150 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 192 million.

Shares of 405 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 165 stocks closed higher, 221 declined while 19 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs8.2 billion.

TRG Pakistan was the volume leader with 12 million shares, gaining Rs0.33 to close at Rs34.20. It was followed by Chakwal Spinning with 7.51 million shares, losing Rs1 to close at Rs10.92 and The Bank of Punjab with 7.45 million shares, gaining Rs0.04 to close at Rs9.09.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs303 million during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.


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