KARACHI: The stock market endured a volatile ride on Thursday as lack of clarity on economic issues continued to dampen investor sentiments.
Following a sideways open, the KSE-100 index plunged 527 points in intra-day trading as selling pressure emerged. Anxiety over meetings with the International Monetary Fund and a downward revision in Pakistan’s growth projection by the Asian Development Bank kept investors wary.
However, the index recovered near the end of trading after optimistic investors stepped in to accumulate stocks at attractive levels. The upcoming monetary policy announcement, where another interest rate hike was expected, also contributed to the market’s bearish session.
At close, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 58.11 points or 0.14% to settle at 40,851.80.
Elixir Securities’ analyst Murtaza Jafar said the market opened sideways and traded under pressure for most of the session, hitting an intra-day low of 527 points.
“However, the tide turned towards the last hour of the day when Pioneer Cement (+4.9%) announced FY18 earnings per share of Rs7.24 along with final cash dividend of Rs4.07 per share; the result was above our and street expectations on account of one-off tax adjustment,” he said.
“The change in sentiments allowed the market to recover in a strong fashion on increasing volumes.”
Selling pressure was noted mainly in oil and gas exploration and marketing stocks which collectively contributed over 70 points to the decline in the benchmark index.
“Going forward, we expect the market to keep a close watch on news flow emanating from meetings between an IMF delegation and the Ministry of Finance while any surprises from the release of the Monetary Policy Statement (scheduled for Saturday) will set the direction for next week,” Jafar added.
Overall, trading volumes increased to 149.4 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 126.4 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs5.3 billion.
Shares of 369 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 112 stocks closed higher, 240 declined and 17 remained unchanged.
Dolmen City (XD) was the volume leader with 22.1 million shares, losing Rs0.11 to close at Rs12.65. It was followed by Unity Foods with 12.4 million shares, losing Rs1.55 to close at Rs32.84 and TRG Pakistan with 12.1 million shares, gaining Rs0.93 to close at Rs28.97.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs361.8 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.