KARACHI: Investors at the Karachi bourse open the week with bullish intent, pushing the index to close at an unprecedented record level of 18,250, supported by a lower inflation rate for March and interest in the oil, fertiliser and cement sectors. Moreover, the end of the nomination process ahead of May 11 general elections also boosted confidence.
The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index gained 1.27% or 228.8 points to end at 18,272.11 point level. Trade volumes fell to 171 million shares compared with Monday’s tally of 204 million shares. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs7.28 billion.
“With (the) nomination paper submission process over, investors confidence improves as local bourse crossed 18,270 points mark for the first time ever,” reported Samar Iqbal, head of equity sales at Topline Securities.
“Pre-result mania coupled with (a) lower consumer price index also kept interest alive.”
According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics on Monday, inflation eased to 6.57% in March year-on-year, from 7.4% percent in February, which was better than expectations, however investors were not too excited as analysts believe interest rates have bottomed out and many expect a hike in the State Bank of Pakistan’s next monetary policy statement, said Faisal Bilwani, analyst at Elixir Securities.
Traders bought blue chips in anticipation of strong corporate earnings outlook for the outgoing quarter, said JS Global Capital analyst Ovais Ahsan.
Pakistan State Oil saw a muted rally after the government notified an increase of Rs0.25 per litre on margins of motor spirit and Rs0.1 per litre for high speed diesel.
The cement sector, including Maple Leaf Cement, continued its rally under DG Khan Cement’s lead as strong quarterly sales coupled with harmony within the ‘cartel’ kept the bullish momentum intact, said Ahsan.
Bank of Punjab was the star performer of the day, hitting its upper lock, after announcing earnings per share of Rs3.09 for the year ending December 2012 against Rs0.66 in the corresponding period of last year.
Maple Leaf Cement was the volume leader with 20.95 million shares gaining Re1 to finish at Rs18.76. It was followed by Bank of Punjab with 12.56 million shares gaining Re1 to close at Rs9.22 and DG Khan Cement with 12.11 million shares climbing Rs1.86 to close at Rs71.13.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs195.49 million, according to data maintained by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2013.
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