Market Watch: Volatile session leaves bourse directionless

Benchmark KSE-100 index closes virtually flat.

Our Correspondent March 25, 2013
Benchmark KSE-100 index closes virtually flat

KARACHI: The Karachi bourse witnessed a volatile session as the market managed to cross the 18,000-mark after some clarity on the political front as the country moves towards its first ever smooth transition of democratic power. However, late selling wiped out all the earlier gains.

The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index remained virtually flat, down a negligible 0.01% or 1.21 points to end at 17,961.91 point level. Trade volumes stayed low, clocking in at 154 million shares compared with Friday’s tally of 161 million shares.

“In the initial session, the market touched the intraday high of 18,071.3 after the appointment of the new caretaker prime minister,” reported Samar Iqbal, head of equity sales at Topline Securities. But the morning gains were wiped out due to late profit taking in index names from state and other local institutions, said Faisal Bilwani, analyst at Elixir Securities.

Activity was confined in select names on lack of interest despite more clarity on the political front as Justice (retd) Mir Hazar Khan Khoso took charge and Pakistan’s democracy appeared to be on track for a smooth transfer of power for the first time in history.

Shares of 340 companies were traded on Monday. At the end of the day 127 stocks closed higher, 151 declined while 62 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs4.85 Billion.

Hub Power Company (Hubco) announced commencement of operations of a 84 megawatts hydropower project that will marginally add any value to the Hubco’s bottom-line, but was nevertheless a boost to investors’ confidence.

As expected, the cement sector remained a favourite though profit taking, which was seen in most names, resulted in the sector without a clear direction.

Pakistan International Airlines was the volume leader with 21.23 million shares gaining Rs0.14 to finish at Rs6.82. It was followed by Lotte Pakistan with 14.38 million shares losing Rs0.15 to close at Rs7.3 and TRG Pakistan with 11.62 million shares climbing Rs0.35 to close at Rs7.81.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs20.73 million, according to data maintained by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.

Analysts expect activity to remain sporadic with the money flow guiding direction as no serious triggers and little foreign interest will keep the index hovering around the 18,000-level.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2013.

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