Market watch: Caution prevails as holidays kick in

Benchmark KSE-100 index drops 160.68 points.

Our Correspondent July 28, 2014

KARACHI: The index closed negative on the only trading day of the week as participants remained cautious ahead of the elongated Eid weekend.

At close, the KSE benchmark 100-share index fell 0.53% or 160.68 points to end at 30,314.07.

“As expected, small cap cements led volumes on retail participation, while sector declined for a second day in a row on anxiety over future of the industry post Lafarge Pakistan (LPCL PA -4.7%) stake sale,” said Faisal Bilwani of Elixir Securities.

“United Bank (UBL PA +4%) led index names to close at a record of Rs194.74 on reported foreigner buying, while Bank Al Habib (BAHL PA -1.07%) was down on reported local selling.

“We see volumes to considerably improve post Eid holidays on earnings, however, politics is likely to be a dampener as opposition gears for August 14 demonstration in Islamabad,” said Bilwani.

Meanwhile, analyst Ovais Ahsan of JS Global said the government’s decision to call the army in Islamabad ahead of a major protest rally planned for August 14 also hampered sentiment with a wide array of conspiracy theories doing the rounds.

“Major lagging movers of the day were Lucky Cement (-2.6%), OGDC (-0.6%) and Fauji Fertilizer (-1.4%).

“The euphoria over Bestway Group’s acquisition of Lafarge Cement (-4.7%) faded quickly as the takeover price was lower than what market participants initially calculated,” Ahsan said.

Trade volumes dropped to 103 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 218 million.

Shares of 289 companies were traded on Monday. At the end of the day, 104 stocks closed higher, 164 declined while 21 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs5.2 billion.

Lafarge Pakistan was the volume leader with 21.6 million shares, losing Rs0.79 to finish at Rs15.94. It was followed by Maple Leaf Cement with 6.6 million shares, losing Rs1.06 to close at Rs31.08 and Cherat Cement with 6.1 million shares, losing Rs1.03 to close at Rs87.46.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs87 million worth of shares, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th,  2014.

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