Market watch: Stocks lose ground over plunging oil prices

Benchmark KSE-100 index drops 491.81 points to settle at 32,314.57


​ Our Correspondent April 27, 2020
Benchmark KSE-100 index drops 491.81 points to settle at 32,314.57. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI: The benchmark KSE-100 index closed lower on Monday as the stock market came under pressure amid concern over tumbling crude oil prices.

The plunge in global oil prices stopped investors from accumulating stocks with selling pressure weighing on sentiment. The market nosedived in the early hours of trading, however, it later recouped some of the losses.

Moreover, with the beginning of Ramazan, the stock market experienced lacklustre interest, which led to a slump in trading volumes.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a decrease of 491.81 points, or 1.5%, to settle at 32,314.57.

Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that the market opened on a negative note with a decline of 198 points and trading in 1.6 million shares at the opening bell. In a few minutes, the benchmark index hit -450 points and gradually extended the loss to 675 points, it added.

The cement sector largely received a battering, mainly due to concern over recent increase in prices. Kohat Cement hit its lower circuit and remained at that level till the close of session.

The report added that international crude oil prices slid 8.5% that kept pressure on exploration and production stocks.

Stocks that contributed positively to the index included Pakistan Tobacco (+14 points), Fauji Fertiliser Company (+6 points), Byco (+6 points), Attock Refinery (+4 points) and Agriauto Industries (+4 points).

Meanwhile, stocks that contributed negatively included Hubco (-50 points), Mari Petroleum (-44 points), Lucky Cement (-38 points), UBL (-34 points) and Engro (-31 points).

JS Global analyst Danish Ladhani said the KSE-100 index closed on a negative note at 32,314, down 1.5%, after an unimpressive trading session. “Overall, the volumes remained slack with thin participation from investors due to Ramazan,” he commented.

In the financial sector, Bank Alfalah Limited (-3.2%) announced 1QCY20 consolidated earnings per share (EPS) of Rs1.63 versus Rs1.79 in the same period of last year with no cash payout.

In the fertiliser sector, Fauji Fertiliser Company (-0.4%) announced consolidated EPS of Rs3.37 for the Jan-Mar 2020 quarter with cash dividend of Rs2.5 per share.

Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC, -2%) and Pakistan Oilfields (-2.1%) remained in the negative territory following a fall in international oil prices as US storages were near all-time highs, he added.

Profit-taking was witnessed in the cement sector where Kohat Cement (-7.5%) hit its lower circuit. UBL (-2.9%), Lucky Cement (-2.9%), Bank Alfalah (-3.2%), Pakistan Oilfields (-2.1%), OGDC (-2%), Engro (-1.5%), MCB (-0.3%) and HBL (-0.3%) cumulatively contributed to negative close of the index.

“Going forward, we expect the market to remain under pressure and recommend investors to sell on strength,” the analyst added.

Overall, trading volumes increased to 122.3 million shares compared with Friday’s tally of 120.6 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs5.3 billion.

Shares of 328 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 97 stocks closed higher, 198 declined and 33 remained unchanged.

Maple Leaf Cement was the volume leader with 17.3 million shares, losing Rs0.92 to close at Rs25.95. It was followed by Hascol Petroleum with 7.4 million shares, losing Rs0.10 to close at Rs14.50 and DG Khan Cement with seven million shares, losing Rs1.49 to close at Rs81.22.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs202 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.

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