KARACHI: The Karachi bourse opened the week on a cautious note that nonetheless closed in the black, resuming its march to record highs.
The bourse recorded lacklustre trade as investors trimmed their positions in the banking sector due to expectations that the central bank will maintain status quo on the discount rate.
Traders have been showing their liking towards cement and fertiliser stocks after positive sales figures for March for both the sectors.
The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index gained 0.09% or 17.03 points to end at 18,653.06 points. Trade volumes fell to a paltry 124 million shares compared with Friday’s tally of 207 million shares.
“The market continues its vigilant walk into uncharted territory as intraday gains were wiped out by profit-taking in the later session,” said Ovais Ahsan, analyst at JS Global Capital.
Investors took a cautious approach as the disqualification of prominent political figures by the Election Commission of Pakistan prompted some quarters to suggest that the elections could be delayed due to an overwhelming number of disqualifications.
The banking sector was the major laggard due to expectations that the State Bank of Pakistan will maintain the status quo on interest rate in the upcoming monetary policy statement due April 12.
On the flipside, buying interest was seen in the telecom sector amid hopes of better March earnings.
The value of shares traded during the day was Rs3.62 billion.
Bankislami Pakistan was the volume leader with 12.54 million shares, falling Rs0.27 to finish at Rs6.39. It was followed by Jahangir Siddiqui and Company with 9.34 million shares, shedding Rs0.13 to close at Rs13.17 and Pakistan Telecommunication Company with 6.2 million shares, gaining Rs0.04 to close at Rs21.27.
Foreign institutional investors were buyers of Rs181.22 million and sellers of Rs263.85 million worth of equity, according to data maintained by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.
Analysts expect the cement and telecom sectors to remain as investors’ top picks because of strong quarterly results, though delay in elections can trigger a broader sell-off in the market.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2013.
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