KARACHI: The equities closed lower on Wednesday as trading volumes tumbled to the level last seen in October last year.
The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) benchmark 100-share index ended the day’s trading with a fall of 0.24% or 82.25 points at 33,718.86.
Elixir Securities analyst Faisal Bilwani said that stocks kicked off trading on a dull note and the wider market struggled to find a clear direction. The index traded below 33,600 points during the day with index-heavy banks and cement companies to blame.
“United Bank (-1.8%) closed at the lowest level this year on reported foreign selling while Lucky Cement (-1.3%) failed to recover and closed in the red, tracking sector direction,” he said.
“Volumes picked up sharply and the momentum tilted near the close as Engro Corp (+1.2%) announced earnings that were in line with expectations, however, the payout surprised everyone.”
The analyst expects the turnover to significantly improve and the market to test 34,000 ahead of the weekend with Engro leading the way. Pakistan Oilfields, NBP and PSO are also likely to gain on institutional buying with the latter due to the announcement of its first-half earnings on Thursday.
Trade volumes fell to 164 million shares compared to 217 million on Tuesday.
Shares of 365 companies were traded. Of these, 234 declined, 111 closed higher and 20 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs12.2 billion.
The Bank of Punjab was the volume leader with 30 million shares, gaining Rs0.55 to close at Rs10.64. It was followed by Jahangir Siddiqui and Company with 22.4 million shares, losing Rs0.84 to close at Rs20.44 and the Bank of Khyber with 8 million shares, gaining Rs0.12 to close at Rs9.77.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs44 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2015.
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