The stock market reversed the trend after posting gains for 13 consecutive sessions and dipped over 60 points on Wednesday amid range-bound trading.
The benchmark KSE-100 index traded in a narrow range and continued to oscillate between red and green zones. Although the overall sentiment was positive, investors still opted to book profit and switch positions.
The market was driven by a report of Fitch ratings agency that predicted Pakistani rupee would recover to 163 against the dollar in 2020 and stand at 176 in 2021 coupled with reports that the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) had approved increase in re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) prices by 35% for Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and by 40% for Sui Southern Gas Company.
Earlier, trading began on a positive note, however, volatility emerged due to the absence of positive triggers and the index entered red zone in the initial hours.
At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a decrease of 66.19 points, or 0.18%, to settle at 36,679.03 points.
Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that the market opened on a positive note with +106 points and gained a total of 146 points during the session. However, profit-booking pulled the index down by 107 points later.
Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) again registered high volumes and closed the session higher than the previous day’s price, the report said.
Stocks of oil and gas marketing, fertiliser, steel and pharmaceutical firms experienced profit booking.
The cement sector topped the volumes with trading in 54 million shares, followed by banks (34.5 million) and technology firms (34 million).
Stocks that contributed positively to the index included Pakistan Tobacco (+16 points), PPL (+15 points), Hubco (+13 points), Indus Motor (+11 points) and Pakistan Oilfields (+10 points).
Stocks that contributed negatively were Dawood Hercules (-21 points), SNGPL (-19 points), Millat Tractors (-16 points), Meezan Bank (-13 points) and Fauji Fertiliser Company (-10 points).
JS Global analyst Maaz Mulla said the market remained range bound. “The traded value stood relatively low at $85 million, down 22% and volumes came in at 328 million shares, down 30%,” he stated.
“On the news front, Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed to build the biggest dam in Pakistan’s history after kicking off construction work on the Diamer-Bhasha dam project, adding that the project would also benefit the people living in Gilgit-Baltistan,” he added.
Major movers of the index were Hubco (+0.9%), Indus Motor (+2.9%), Maple Leaf Cement (+2.7%), Pakistan Oilfields (+0.9%), SNGPL (-5.1%), Engro (-0.4%) and Millat Tractors (-4.2%), which moved the index in both directions.
Profit-booking continued in the cement sector where Kohat Cement (-1.8%), Cherat Cement (-1.1%), Fauji Cement (-0.9%) and Pioneer Cement (-0.3%) lost ground.
“Moving forward, we recommend investors to book profit on strength and wait for a dip for fresh buying,” the analyst said.
Overall, trading volumes fell to 328.4 million shares compared with Tuesday’s tally of 466.3 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs14.2 billion.
Shares of 386 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 147 stocks closed higher, 216 declined and 23 remained unchanged.
Maple Leaf Cement was the volume leader with 33.2 million shares, gaining Rs0.82 to close at Rs31.37. It was followed by Pak Elektron with 27.1 million shares, gaining Rs0.02 to close at Rs30.46 and Unity Foods with 21.8 million shares, losing Rs0.30 to close at Rs12.56.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs751.9 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.