KARACHI: The stock market experienced a lacklustre session on Thursday due to the absence of positive triggers and thin participation of investors.
According to Ahsan Mehanti of Arif Habib Corporation, the inflow of $21.84 billion in remittances in FY19, reports of surging bank deposits and higher banking spreads, hike in local auto prices and higher global crude oil prices played the role of catalysts in positive close of the market.
Earlier, trading began on a positive note, however, slim volumes and sombre mood of investors restricted the market from achieving lofty gains. The index remained in the red zone for a long time but late session buying helped it recover and end in the positive zone.
At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded an increase of 35.35 points, or 0.1%, to settle at 33,875.40.
Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that the KSE-100 index had been on a losing streak with a continued slide in volumes. On Wednesday, the volumes reached an eight-year low of 40 million shares and on Thursday the volumes touched yet another low of 39.5 million, it said.
The cement sector led the volumes with trading in 5.4 million shares, followed by engineering stocks (5.1 million) and chemical stocks (3.7 million).
In stock-wise activity, Dost Steels came on top again with trading in 4.4 million shares, followed by Maple Leaf Cement (2.7 million) and Hubco (2.2 million).
The recent ouster of Hubco from Islamic indices was followed by an increase in trading volumes in the company.
JS Global analyst Maaz Mulla said the benchmark KSE-100 index had a range-bound session, hitting an intra-day high of +117 points and low of -115 points. It closed with a gain of 35 points at 33,875.
“The daily traded value stood at $9 million, similar to the previous trading session, while volumes stood at 39 million shares, down 3%,” he said.
Major contribution to the total market volume came from Maple Leaf Cement (-0.4%), Hubco (+0.2%) and Lotte Chemical (-1.6%) with cumulative trading in seven million shares.
The dull activity could be attributed to the ongoing uncertainty about exchange and interest rates as well as political uncertainty.
Mixed sentiments were witnessed in the banking sector where HBL (+1.8%) and UBL (+0.9%) remained in the green zone while Meezan Bank (-0.9%) and Allied Bank (-0.4%) were in the red zone.
The cement sector swung between red and green throughout the day where Maple Leaf Cement (-0.4%), Lucky Cement (-0.1%), DG Khan Cement (+0.6%) and Pioneer Cement (+0.5%) were the major movers.
“Moving forward, we expect the market to remain directionless in the absence of market-moving triggers and a lack of adequate market participation,” the analyst said.
Overall, trading volumes decreased to 39.5 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 40.6 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs1.4 billion.
Shares of 305 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 114 stocks closed higher, 168 declined and 23 remained unchanged.
Dost Steels was the volume leader with 4.4 million shares, gaining Rs0.27 to close at Rs4.11. It was followed by Maple Leaf Cement with 2.7 million shares, losing Rs0.09 to close at Rs23.26 and Hub Power Company with 2.2 million shares, gaining Rs0.19 to close at Rs78.24.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs276.2 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.