Market watch: Foreign buying directs investment flow

Benchmark KSE-100 index gains 220 points.

Our Correspondent April 18, 2013
Benchmark KSE-100 index gains 220 points.

KARACHI: Bulls made a strong comeback at the Karachi bourse on Thursday, supported by foreign investors and excitement regarding the earnings season. Across the board buying was witnessed with the bulk of activity seen in the heavyweight oil and gas sector, banks and food companies.

The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index rose 1.2% or 220.24 points to end at the 18,614.36 point level. Trade volumes fell to 147 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 174 million shares.

“Reported foreigners’ euphoria and excitement over quarterly earnings announcements kept the mood upbeat,” reported Muhammad Rawjani of Elixir Securities.

“Foreigners were seen driving the market, buying bank, oil and gas, and fertiliser stock while local investors played catch-up.”

Oil and Gas Development Company and Engro Corporation led as winners, while investors also accumulate financial stocks on expectation of a mid-year increase in interest rates as the government starts to court the International Monetary Fund for another programme, said Khalil Usmani, analyst at JS Global Capital.

Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) raised the wellhead gas prices of various wells under its half-year policy to review and adjust prices, which according to analyst will have a positive impact on the profitability of not only OGDC, but the whole sector.

The value of shares traded during the day was Rs6.15 billion.

Engro Foods announced its earnings on Thursday, which missed estimates, whereas Indus Motor surprised on both earnings and dividend payout.

The cement sector on the other hand stayed in the limelight on expectations of a decline in coal prices, as commodities across the globe moved south.

Maple Leaf Cement was the volume leader with 19.16 million shares gaining Rs0.79 to finish at Rs19.15. It was followed by Wateen Telecom with 14.02 million shares gaining Rs0.1 to close at Rs4.24 and Engro Corporation with 11.52 million shares climbing Rs3.75 to close at Rs138.33.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs318.95 million, according to data maintained by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2013.

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