Market watch: Political noise dominates proceedings

Benchmark 100-share index falls 254 points.

Our Correspondent June 26, 2015
Benchmark 100-share index falls 254 points.

KARACHI: Political noise was once again a dampener as the index plunged close to the 34,000-point level amid recent reports against the MQM. Investors treaded with caution, churning high volumes, as lack of immediate triggers meant interest remained in select plays.

The market is expected to remain range-bound ahead of the new fiscal year due to start on July 1.

At close on Thursday, the benchmark KSE-100 index stood at 34,077.92, recording a fall of 0.74% or 254.02 points.

Elixir Securities analyst Sibtain Mustafa said equities declined as the wider market primarily struggled to find a clear direction.” Anxiety over politics and Ramazan kept interest in select names,” said Mustafa. “Meanwhile, BBC’s report linking Karachi’s MQM with funding from India’s RAW brought fresh round of debates within the political arena.”

“Future roll-over continued to push market lower which is further fuelled by foreign institutional investment outflow.”

However, Sibtain added gains in small cap names on retail driven speculative activity is keeping benchmark to hold current ranges.

Meanwhile, an analyst at Topline Securities said investors remained cautious ahead of the fiscal year-end and amid continuous foreign selling in the last two trading sessions.

Decline in index was mainly due to index heavy weight stocks such as Oil and Gas Development Company (down 2.73%), ENGRO (down 1.09%), and Maple Leaf Cement Factory (down 4.79%).

“Sui Southern Gas (SSGC) and Sui Northern Gas (SNGP) closed at 5% and 4% respectively on the back of expected gas tariff hike in Jul 2015.”

Trade volumes increased to 549 million shares compared to 391 million on Wednesday. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs13 billion.

Shares of 355 companies were traded. Of these, 123 companies closed higher, 209 fell and 23 remained unchanged.

PACE (Pakistan) Limited was the volume leader with 42.4 million shares, gaining Rs0.98 to close at Rs7.35. It was followed by Byco Petroleum with 41.2 million shares, gaining Rs0.66 to close at Rs23.64 and World Call Limited with 35.5 million shares, gaining Rs0.42 to close at Rs2.28.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs182 million worth of shares during the session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2015.

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