Market watch: IMF team visit helps stocks regain some ground

Bearish sentiment subsides on hopes of fresh loan programme.

Our Correspondent June 20, 2013

KARACHI: The Karachi stock market surged by nearly a percentage point after an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team arrived in the country for a post-programme monitoring exercise.

Investors speculated that a fresh bailout package would soon follow, and pumped money into the market accordingly.

The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index rose 0.99% or 216.09 points to end at 22,135.72 points. Trade volumes, however, continued to slide, clocking in at 306 million shares, compared with Tuesday’s tally of 347 million shares. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs9.75 billion.

“Equities opened Wednesday with strong gains, after the benchmark KSE-100 index lost a little over 3.6% in the preceding three trading sessions, as Pakistan begins talks with the IMF, which may include [negotiations for] a fresh $3-5 billion loan,” said Faisal Bilwani, analyst at Elixir Securities.

“Pakistan State Oil and Engro Foods closed at their upper limit, while decent activity was seen in Bank of Punjab, KASB Bank, Fauji Cement Company and Lafarge Pakistan Cement. This helped the market settle above the 22,000 psychological level,” reported Samar Iqbal, senior manager equity sales at Topline Securities.

Bank of Punjab (rights issue) was the volume leader with 64.58 million shares, losing Rs0.27 to finish at Rs2.52. It was followed by Bank of Punjab (ordinary shares) with 29.16 million shares, gaining Rs0.79 to close at Rs14.91 and KASB Bank with 26.63 million shares, losing Rs0.17 to close at Rs2.18.

“Oils tracked the recent increase in international crude prices and closed green, while Pakistan State Oil hit its upper price limit on the government’s resolve to manage energy sector debt,” said Bilwani.

“Lagging consumer play Engro Foods came back in the limelight on reported foreign buying and local’s interest on hopes of significant volumetric growth ahead of the holy month of Ramazan,” Bilwani added.

Other analysts added that the rise in Engro Foods’ price also comes on the back of a possible reduction in the proposed GST for fiscal 2014 to back to 16%.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs349.7 million worth of securities, according to data maintained by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2013.

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