KARACHI: The Karachi bourse rallied, on Wednesday, to close at yet another record high, and with the 24,000-point level in sight, led by banking and cement stocks with the oil and gas sector as support. On the contrary, the fertiliser sector lost ground as prospects of urea price hike dimmed on the back of ongoing slump in international prices.
The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index gained 0.39% or 92.95 points to end at the 23,776.22-point level. Trade volumes fell to 304 million shares compared with Tuesday’s tally of 333 million shares.
“Led by the banking and cement stocks, the KSE-100 share index rallied to yet another (record) high,” reported Samar Iqbal, head of equity sales at Topline Securities.
The market continues to sail into uncharted territory led by the banking sector as National Bank of Pakistan and MCB Bank gained on half-year results excitement and rumours of a potential reduction in the minimum deposit rate (from current 6%) despite Moody’s preserved negative stance on local banks, said Ovais Ahsan, analyst at JS Global Capital.
Buying interest was also observed in other banking stocks over anticipation of interest rate hike in the next monetary policy.
Shares of 378 companies were traded on Wednesday. At the end of the day 194 stocks closed higher, 145 declined while 39 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs13.98 billion.
The oil and gas sector was the second biggest contributor to the rally, as Pakistan Petroleum and Pakistan State Oil gained on hefty volume. Attock Refinery also continued to rally defying weak underlying fundamentals as gross refining margins remain depressed, added Ahsan.
Cement plays also drew interest over climbing cement prices taking DG Khan Cement and Maple Leaf Cement to new highs as small cap retail stocks continue to churn heavy volumes.
Contrary to the bullish trend, Fauji Fertilizer Company and Engro Corporation lost ground as prospects of a local urea price hike dimmed on the back of ongoing slump in international prices which is paving way for cheaper imports.
Bank of Punjab was the volume leader with 35.64 million shares losing Rs0.39 to finish at Rs13.64. It was followed by National Bank of Pakistan with 19.9 million shares gaining Rs2.85 to close at Rs60.01 and Fauji Cement with 19.09 million shares climbing Rs0.01 to close at Rs15.19.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs128 million, according to data maintained by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2013.
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