KARACHI: The stock market closed Monday flat, with gains made during the day clipped by the end of the trading session. After a rally in the oil and gas sector – led by news of a likely upward revision in gas wellhead prices in the Qadirpur gas field – negative outlook in the cement and fertiliser sectors dampened overall investor sentiment.
The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index pared 0.02% or 2.66 points to end at the 14,673.77 points level. Trade volumes rose to 58 million shares compared with Friday’s tally of 48 million shares. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs2.13 billion.
“Activity remained thin despite strong corporate earnings outlook and recovery in global stocks and commodities,” noted Ahsan Mehanti from Arif Habib Corp. He said investors are cautious ahead of the State Bank’s policy announcement due later this week, while political uncertainty is taking a toll on overall sentiment.
“The index started the week in consolidation phase, as political uncertainty outweighed positives from disbursement of funds by the US last week,” observed Shakir Padela, analyst at JS Global. He added that the revision of wellhead prices benefitted the Oil and Gas Development Company and Pakistan Petroleum, who have a stake in the Qadirpur field; but profit-taking later led to them closing with a nominal gain of 0.6% each.
“The fertiliser sector came under selling pressure; expectations of import by the government and lower sales for the month of July led to the selloff,” he concluded.
Shares of 373 companies were traded on Monday. At the end of the day 97 stocks closed higher, 144 declined while 132 remained unchanged.
Aisha Steel Mills was the volume leader with 5.23 million shares gaining Rs1.02 to finish at Rs11.02. It was followed by Jahangir Siddiqui & Company with 3.21 million shares losing Rs0.42 to close at Rs14.71 and Azgard Nine with 2.97 million shares losing Rs0.30 to close at Rs5.82.
Foreign institutional investors were buyers of Rs224.65 million and sellers of Rs61.56 million, according to data maintained by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2012.