KARACHI: The KSE-100 index experienced lacklustre trading on Friday and inched up just six points as Finance Minister Asad Umar's remarks that the rupee was reaching its equilibrium failed to convince investors.
Weak investor sentiments led to range-bound trading at the bourse, resulting in a flat close of the benchmark index.
Interloop Limited made its debut at the bourse and also topped the volumes table on its first day of trading.
Earlier, the trading kicked off on a negative note and the index fell over 140 points, but later it got support from investors, who resorted to cherry-picking. As a result, the first session of the day closed with a gain of two points.
The second session opened on a positive note, but investor sentiments weakened shortly afterwards and the index dipped nearly 200 points. A buying spree in final hours of the day helped the index recover and close almost flat.
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At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded an increase of 5.69 points or 0.02% to settle at 37,521.81.
Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that after Thursday's slide of nearly 500 points, the KSE-100 index slipped another 209 points during the day, but closed six points positive.
"Interloop Limited (ILP) debuted at the PSX with trading in 14.3 million shares and closed slightly higher than its opening/subscription price of Rs46.10," it added. "ILP also topped the volumes table, followed by Unity Foods right shares, which registered a volume of 13.7 million shares."
Investors did not take much interest in blue chips, which was evident from the fact that none of the blue chips featured on the top 10 volumes chart.
Mainstream sectors like cement companies and banks ranked fourth and fifth in terms of traded volumes.
Stocks that contributed positively included Nestle (+11 points), Mari Petroleum (+9 points) and Pakistan Tobacco (+9 points).
On the other hand, stocks that contributed negatively included MCB Bank (-17 points), Kot Addu Power Company (-10 points) and HBL (-8 points).
According to data released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA), the industry's total cement sales declined 7% year-on-year whereas local cement sales fell 9%, said JS Global analyst Danish Ladhani.
"Mixed sentiments were seen in the cement sector where Cherat Cement (-0.9%), Dewan Cement (-1%) and Fauji Cement (-0.3%) closed in the red zone whereas Lucky Cement (+0.1%), Maple Leaf Cement (+0.3) and Kohat Cement (+1%) remained in the green zone," he said.
Market watch: KSE-100 closes flat in range-bound trading
Similar sentiments were seen in the fertiliser sector where Engro (+0.2%) closed in the green zone and Fauji Fertiliser (-0.4%) was in the red zone.
Overall, trading volumes decreased to 101.74 million shares compared with Thursday's tally of 127.96 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs3.8 billion.
Shares of 319 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 155 stocks closed higher, 148 declined and 16 remained unchanged.
Interloop Limited was the volume leader with 14.3 million shares, gaining Rs0.05 to close at Rs46.15. It was followed by Unity Foods (R) with 13.7 million shares, losing Rs0.15 to close at Rs3.76 and K-Electric Limited with 7.8 million shares, gaining Rs0.13 to close at Rs5.23.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs262.96 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.