Stocks post slim gains in roller-coaster ride

KSE-100 index creeps up 56.24 points, settles at 72,658.05

Our Correspondent May 10, 2024
A sign of the Pakistan Stock Exchange is seen on its building in Karachi, Pakistan January 11, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS


Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Thursday endured a roller-coaster ride with several ups and downs due to prevailing pre-budget worries and profit-taking, but a boost came from the pharma sector which helped the KSE-100 index close with marginal gains.

The index touched its intra-day high at 72,889.78 points as soon as trading commenced.

Reports saying that the World Bank had agreed on a new partnership strategy to advance Pakistan’s reform and development agenda sparked hopes among market players.

The agreement was reached between Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif and a World Bank delegation, led by its Regional Vice President for South Asia Martin Raiser.

However, bulls lost control and volatility hit the bourse, which pulled the index to its intra-day low of 72,325.34 points before midday.

Though a major partnership in the pharmaceutical sector gave a boost to investor confidence, the market could not sustain the momentum with profit-taking erasing most of the gains.

The index fluctuated up and down throughout the session and closed virtually flat with minimal gains.

“Stocks showed recovery as investors weighed the World Bank’s affirmation to collaborate in structural reforms and sustainable development amid rupee stability,” said Ahsan Mehanti, MD of Arif Habib Corp.

“Government deliberations over the privatisation of ailing SOEs (state-owned enterprises), speculation ahead of Pakistan-IMF loan talks this month and likely visit of Saudi crown prince to seal investment deals played the role of catalysts in positive close at the PSX.”

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a slight increase of 56.24 points, or 0.08%, and settled at 72,658.05.

Topline Securities, in its report, stated that Pakistan’s stock market experienced a mix of ups and downs.

Positive momentum in the index was mainly driven by contribution from TRG Pakistan, Service Industries, Systems Limited, DG Khan Cement and The Searle Company, which collectively added 115 points.

Conversely, Engro Corporation, Fauji Fertiliser Company, Engro Fertilisers, Bank AL Habib and Hub Power dragged the index down by 170 points. “Investor interest was notably seen in the technology sector,” Topline added.

Arif Habib Limited (AHL), in its report, remarked while the market remained “flat for the day, the cement sector ended its consolidation”.

Pharma names stood very strong including GlaxoSmithKline Pakistan (+7.5%), Citi Pharma (+4.34%), AGP Limited (+6.59%) and Searle (+7.5%).

“E&P (exploration and production) names look well positioned to see gains with Pakistan Petroleum and Mari Petroleum setting the trend nicely,” AHL added.

JS Global analyst Mubashir Anis Naviwala said the market opened on a positive note. Sectors such as E&P, fertiliser, banks and refinery witnessed profit-taking, while pharmaceuticals, cement and technology stocks thrived, leading the market to close in the green.

“Looking ahead, we advise investors to consider a buy-on-dips strategy, particularly focusing on cement, pharma and technology sectors for potential opportunities,” the analyst added.

Overall trading volumes decreased to 674.98 million shares against Wednesday’s tally of 970.3 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs24.05 billion.

Shares of 376 companies were traded. Of these, 218 stocks closed higher, 126 dropped and 32 remained unchanged.

WorldCall Telecom was the volume leader with trading in 175.1 million shares and remaining unchanged at Rs1.51. It was followed by Pak Elektron with 40.2 million shares, gaining Rs1.85 to close at Rs27.55 and K-Electric with 31.3 million shares, gaining Rs0.01 to close at Rs4.69.

Foreign investors were net sellers of shares worth Rs37.99 million, according to the NCCPL.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2024.

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