The Pakistan Stock Exchange staged a rebound in yet another range bound session on Thursday and the KSE-100 index advanced just 62 points as investors adopted a wait-and-see strategy in view of the ongoing Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting.
Market participants chose to remain on the sidelines as speculation mounted that the FATF would keep Pakistan in the grey list.
The threat of an energy crisis, on the back of a nationwide oil tanker strike, sparked concern, restricting the market from posting hefty gains. However, it did not impact the local oil sectors where stocks remained largely unchanged.
Earlier, trading began with a spike and the KSE-100 index crossed the 48,000-point mark in the initial hour. The market’s gains remained modest for most part of the day.
In the final hour, the oil tanker strike played on investors’ mind and the market fell steeply. Despite the decline, the KSE-100 index managed to close with thin gains.
At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded an increase of 61.84 points, or 0.13%, to settle at 47,962.54.
Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that the market continued to trade in a narrow range, where investors kept booking profit post-budget announcement and especially in the rollover week.
Banking-sector stocks inched up, which helped the index go up, however, selling pressure in technology, refinery and cement sectors kept the upside in check, the report said.
JS Global analyst Maaz Mulla said bulls made a comeback as the market touched intra-day high of +217 points. However, profit-taking was witnessed towards the end and the market closed up by only 61 points at 47,962.
Traded volumes stood at 639 million shares where WorldCall Telecom (-5.4%), Pace (+17.1%), Silkbank (-6.8%), TPL Corp (+2.8%) and Ghani Global Glass (-4.8%) contributed a cumulative 34% to the total volumes.
Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin directed the Privatisation Commission and the Ministry of Petroleum to further examine the proposed divestment of government shares in Mari Petroleum and come up with a comprehensive proposal during the next Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCOP) meeting. As a result, Mari Petroleum (-0.1%) closed in the red in Thursday’s trading session.
A rally in cement stocks was witnessed where Dewan Cement (+3.7%), Cherat Cement (+1.8%), Kohat Cement (+1%), Lucky Cement (+0.4%) and Flying Cement (+1.5%) closed in the green.
In the steel sector, Crescent Steel and Allied Products (+5%), Agha Steel Industries (+0.1%), Ittefaq Iron Industries (+0.4%), Amreli Steels (+0.5%) and International Industries (+0.3%) gained ground on market talk that long steel manufacturers had raised rebar prices by Rs5,000 per ton.
“Moving forward, we expect volatility in the market due to rollover week and recommend investors to view any downside as an opportunity to buy stocks of construction and export-oriented sectors,” the analyst said.
Overall trading volumes rose to 638.8 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 619.1 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs16.4 billion.
Shares of 421 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 207 stocks closed higher, 187 declined and 27 remained unchanged.
WorldCall Telecom was the volume leader with 97.5 million shares, losing Rs0.21 to close at Rs3.65. It was followed by Pace (Pakistan) with 35.7 million shares, gaining Re1 to close at Rs6.85 and Silkbank with 33.8 million shares, losing Rs0.13 to close at Rs1.79.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs96.1 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.