KARACHI: The stock market closed flattish on the third trading day of the week, after a rally in the cement sector helped offset concerns over increasing incidents of violence and political strife in the country’s commercial hub.
“Range-bound activity was seen at the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE); however, cement stocks remained in the limelight on news that local cement prices will remain firm in the next few weeks,” reported Topline Securities’ equity dealer Samar Iqbal.
The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index pared 0.06% or 9.20 points to end at the 16,120.52 points level. Trade volumes dropped to 144 million shares compared with Tuesday’s tally of 157 million shares. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs4.10 billion.
Shares of 354 companies were traded on Wednesday. At the end of the day 152 stocks closed higher, 136 declined while 66 remained unchanged.
“Investors preferred to take positions in the cement sector as rumours of the dissolution of cement cartel faded away; as well as a decline in international coal prices, which will increase margins for cement manufacturers,” said JS Global analyst Fahad Ali. “Maple Leaf Cement hit its upper circuit with a total volume of 20 million shares, whereas other cement companies also closed in the green.”
Maple Leaf Cement was the volume leader with 20.20 million shares gaining Rs1.00 to finish at Rs11.34. It was followed by DG Khan Cement with 15.07 million shares gaining Rs0.26 to close at Rs53.03 and Jahangir Siddiqui & Company with 11.34 million shares gaining Rs0.10 to close at Rs16.55.
“Profit-taking was seen in the banking sector on the back of expectations of another discount rate cut in the next monetary policy,” added Ali.
“Heavy-weight Oil and Gas Development Company also gained Rs3 at close,” added Iqbal; indicating that the oil sector may have recovered partially from heavy selling by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) yesterday.
FIIs were buyers of Rs188.15 million and sellers of Rs140.14 million, according to data maintained by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 15th, 2012.