Market watch: Pessimism ahead of elections pulls bourse down

Deteriorating security situation in Karachi dampens spirits.

Our Correspondent April 29, 2013
TRG Pakistan was the volume leader with 28.12 million shares. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: With general elections right around the corner, the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi saw the bourse dip 0.5% in the first trading session of the week.

“Unconfirmed news of discontinuation of gas supply to Engro’s fertiliser plant also dampened sentiments,” reported Samar Iqbal from Topline Securities. “With low volumes, across-the-board profit taking was seen,” she reported.

The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index lost 0.50% or 94.86 points to end at the 18,822.85 points level. Trade volumes plummeted to 157 million shares, compared with Friday’s tally of 206 million shares. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs3.84 billion.

“The KSE‐100 shed points on the first day of the week as investors remained vary of political elections not being held on time due to the precarious law and order situation in the country,” commented JS Global Capital analyst Khalil Usmani. “Although the results season is in full swing, it did not generate any excitement in the market,” he added.

Shares of 378 companies were traded on Monday. At the end of the day, 120 stocks closed higher, 217 declined, while 41 remained unchanged.

“The negative tone was set by Engro Corp (-2.3%), which came under pressure in morning trade on news that the government will reshuffle gas allocations to counter electricity load-shedding,” reported Faisal Bilwani, analyst at Elixir Securities. “The stock never showed signs of recovery, [especially] after first quarter earnings released today came in marginally lower than street estimates.”

“Banking giants National Bank (-4.26%) and MCB Bank (+0.14%) also released first quarter earnings ... with the former closing under pressure on earnings that were slightly below Elixir and street expectations. Lucky Cement (-0.3%) failed to generate interest, despite an impressive quarterly result.”

TRG Pakistan was the volume leader with 28.12 million shares, gaining Rs0.52 to finish at Rs11.82. It was followed by Lotte Chemical with 11.01 million shares, gaining Rs0.05 to close at Rs7.59; and Wateen Telecom with 10.37 million shares, gaining Rs0.35 to close at Rs5.16.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs18.21 million, according to data maintained by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2013.

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