KARACHI: Bearish sentiment persisted at the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Thursday and the KSE-100 index shed 96.2 points in a lacklustre session as investors adopted a cautious stance on the last trading session before Eid.
The oil sector posted gains owing to a spike in global crude prices during the day. Brent crude was trading at $36.51 per barrel while the US West Texas Intermediate crude was priced at $34. Both benchmarks were at their highest levels since March 11.
On the other hand, financial sector stocks recorded losses as Moody’s rating agency had put five Pakistani banks under watch for possible ratings downgrade.
Earlier, trading kicked off on a positive note, however, the uptrend could not be sustained due to sombre mood and weak investor sentiment.
Amid cautious trading, investors resorted to profit-booking, which pulled the index down into negative territory. A buying spree towards the end helped recoup some of the losses.
At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a decrease of 96.20 points, or 0.28%, to settle at 33,836.61.
JS Global analyst Maaz Mulla said Pakistan Stock Exchange closed negative as the index hit intra-day high of +116 points and low of -175 points and closed at 33,836, down 96 points.
The market will remain closed from Friday (May 22) to Wednesday (May 27) to mark Jummatul Wida and Eidul Fitr.
“Traded value stood at $36 million, down 15% and volumes came in at 147 million shares, down 11%,” he said.
Overall, selling pressure was witnessed in banking and cement stocks where UBL (-0.2%), MCB (-0.6%), The Bank of Punjab (-1.5%), Bank Alfalah (-0.4%), DG Khan Cement (-2.7%), Maple Leaf Cement (-2%), Lucky Cement (-1%) and Fauji Cement (-0.6%) remained negative.
Moreover, Pakistan Petroleum (+0.2%), Oil and Gas Development Company (+1.2%) and Pakistan Oilfields (+0.8%) from the exploration and production sector went up compared to their previous day’s close as crude oil prices edged higher in the international market.
“Moving forward, we expect the market to continue to exhibit a similar behaviour and recommend investors to book profit in the short term,” the analyst said.
Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that the last trading day before the long weekend caused nervousness among investors as on the one hand international crude prices traded at higher levels, but local investors were wary of the gap due to Eid holidays.
“Oil and Gas Development Company went up early on but faced selling pressure and ended up in a narrow range,” it said. “The cement sector registered price losses due to selling pressure, which had been persistent for the past couple of sessions.”
The banking sector also fell prey to the selling pressure, especially in the wake of a recent notification by Moody’s for possible ratings downgrade of top banks.
The index largely traded in a narrow range between +116 points and -175 points, after beginning trading on a positive note with gains of 77 points and 1.4 million shares traded at the opening bell.
Technology stocks posted the highest volumes with trading in 34.2 shares, followed by oil and gas marketing companies (19.6 million) and cement firms (18.1 million).
Overall, trading volumes decreased to 147.2 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 165.1 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs5.9 billion.
Shares of 340 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 135 stocks closed higher, 187 declined and 18 remained unchanged.
TRG Pakistan was the volume leader with 18.4 million shares, losing Rs0.06 to close at Rs25.75. It was followed by Hascol Petroleum with 15.3 million shares, losing Rs0.32 to close at Rs14.48 and Maple Leaf Cement with 7.2 million shares, losing Rs0.51 to close at Rs25.51.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs287.4 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.
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