Market Watch: Investors still search for a ray of light

Telecom sector helps index gain 22 points.

Our Correspondent March 28, 2013
Telecom sector helps index gain 22 points.

KARACHI: Lacklustre activity at the Karachi bourse continued for a fourth consecutive day as volumes plunged to a ten-week low where investors looked for triggers with only the telecom sector generating any significant interest over optimism of good quarterly results.

Moreover, the telecom sector gained some momentum after the Supreme Court deferred a final decision on a case over international calling rates, dealers said.

The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index gained 0.12% or 21.62 points to end at 17,947.76 point level. Trade volumes, falling for a fourth consecutive day, were down to a paltry level of 101 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 148 million shares.

“Investors preferred to stay on the sidelines in the absence of any triggers, which is why volumes fell to a ten-week low,” reported Samar Iqbal, head of equity sales at Topline Securities.

Investors took a cautious approach in fundamentally strong stocks such as aviation and telecom stocks at such high level of 17,900, said Mujtaba Barakzai, analyst at JS Global Capital.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ordered the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to complete the proceedings in the international clearing house (ICH) case within 30 days starting from April 1, 2013.

The ICH gateway will converge all international calls to a single technical gateway led by Pakistan Telecommunication Company against the current practice of being handled by 14 long distance international operators.

Shares of 334 companies were traded on Thursday. At the end of the day 127 stocks closed higher, 144 declined while 63 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs2.55 billion.

Hub Power Company came under selling pressure over the ongoing tax dispute as disclosed in their accounts along with liquidity constraints at the Narowal plant, said Jawwad Aboobakar, analyst at Elixir Securities.

Pakistan International Airlines was the volume leader with 21.04 million shares gaining Rs0.12 to finish at Rs7.23. It was followed by Wateen Telecom with 7.41 million shares gaining Rs0.23 to close at Rs3.84 and Lotte Pakistan with 6.1 million shares losing Rs0.08 to close at Rs7.23.

Lotte Pakistan PTA’s stock fell as news resurfaced of squeezing pure terephthalic acid margins for the producer.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs92.05 million, according to data maintained by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2013.

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