KARACHI: Stocks endured a volatile session on Thursday as lack of positive triggers kept investors cautious, with small cap plays attracting attention for most part of the day on specific news developments.
The KSE-100 opened on a positive note, but selling pressure dragged the index lower. Interest was seen in bank and oil stocks; however, profit-taking in other sectors meant the index was unable to stay in the green.
At close, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 154.79 points or 0.33% to settle at 46,331.71.
Elixir Securities’ analyst Ali Raza said equities closed negative in uninspired trading as investors exercised caution on the country’s precarious economic situation.
“After opening slightly positive, the market entered into a lower trending channel on lacklustre activity with the KSE-100 Index testing the day low of 46,220, down 0.6% intra-day. The final hour saw activity somewhat improving as local institutional investors became active in select index names across E&Ps (+0.3%), fertilisers (-0.4%) and financials (-0.5%),” Raza commented.
“Notably, Honda Atlas Cars (HCAR PA +4.6%) led gains after the company recorded highest-ever monthly sales for the month of March. Sideboards continued to grab most attention on the day as stocks to the likes of K-Electric (KEL PA +2.8%) and Engro Polymer (EPCL PA +4.3%) dominated the volumes board, accounting for nearly half of the volumes on the KSE-100 index.
“We see volatile market sinking and testing the 46,000 support in the near-term and earnings related excitement likely facing headwinds from uncertain macroeconomic climate,” Raza added.
Overall, trading volumes increased to 333 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 289 million.
Shares of 400 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 161 stocks closed higher, 219 declined while 20 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs10.2 billion.
K-Electric Limited was the volume leader with 47.5 million shares, gaining Rs0.19 to close at Rs7.06. It was followed by Engro Polymer with 23.9 million shares, gaining Rs1.63 to close at Rs39.91 and PIAC (A) with 21.8 million shares, gaining Rs0.33 to close at Rs5.64.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs730 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.