KARACHI: A five-day winning streak came to an end at the stock market on Thursday as bears returned that pushed the index below 44,000 points.
In the morning, trading began on a positive note with the KSE-100 Index testing 44,300. However, it could not sustain the momentum and dipped 245 points as profit-taking set in.
A World Bank’s report predicting slowdown in Pakistan’s economy dampened investor sentiments. Selling pressure also mounted as the interim finance minister urged for immediate action to improve the current financial and economic situation.
At close, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 196.09 points or 0.44% to settle at 43,948.11.
JS Global analyst Danish Ladhani said equities closed the week negative with the benchmark KSE-100 Index standing at 43,948.
“The market gained in early hours, hitting an intra-day high of +189 points, but plummeted during closing hours of the trading session, touching an intra-day low of -250 points,” said Ladhani.
On the political front, usual pre-election temperature boiled over as an inquiry against former premier Nawaz Sharif and former petroleum minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was opened for allegedly awarding a 15-year contract to a favoured company for the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal by misusing their powers and violating rules and regulations.
Moreover, on the economic front, the World Bank expected Pakistan’s GDP to rise 5.8% in fiscal year 2017-18, before moderating to 5% in 2018-19, reflecting tighter policies to improve macroeconomic stability.
Major heavyweights namely Habib Bank (-2.42%), Pakistan Petroleum (-0.51%), Engro (-2.06%), MCB Bank (-0.71%) and Fauji Fertiliser Company (-0.69%) cumulatively contributed -137 points to the index.
Profit-taking was witnessed in financial and cement stocks that dragged the index down where Habib Bank (-2.42%), MCB Bank (-0.71%), Bank Alfalah (-0.16%) and National Bank (-1.31%) closed negative.
“Moving forward, we expect the market to remain range bound with flows from local and foreign institutions guiding direction before general elections,” the analyst added.
Overall, trading volumes increased to 227 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 223.4 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs8.9 billion.
Shares of 357 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 114 stocks closed higher, 215 declined while 28 remained unchanged.
The Bank of Punjab was the volume leader with 63.3 million shares, losing Rs0.03 to close at Rs13.04. It was followed by Pak Elektron with 21.7 million shares, gaining Rs1.26 to close at Rs39.78 and Pakistan International Bulk Terminal with 19.1 million shares, losing Rs0.56 to close at Rs12.21.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs41.9 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.