Bears staged a comeback in the final session of a short trading week as the benchmark KSE-100 index shed 28 points amid profit-booking by investors.

Investors remained cautious ahead of a long weekend and took a less risky stance by offloading their stockholdings.

Owing to selling pressure, index-heavy automobile, cement, financial and oil marketing sectors faced a steep decline and most of the stocks in those sectors closed with losses.

Earlier, trading began on an optimistic note and the market surged nearly 400 points in early hours. However, selling pressure emerged post-midday and the KSE-100 index plunged, wiping out all the gains.

Late session buying helped erase some of the losses but still the market closed on a negative note.

At close on Thursday, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a decrease of 27.84 points, or 0.06%, to settle at 46,905.79 points.

Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that the last session of the short trading week touched another new high at 47,339 points with exploration and production, oil and gas marketing, bank and cement sectors contributing to the upsurge.

Keeping the long weekend ahead in mind, investors preferred to book profit rather than holding their positions in order to cope with any unforeseen event over the weekend. Resultantly, the index eroded the gains of 406 points made during the session and closed lower by 28 points.

The banking sector saw almost across-the-board slide whereas the engineering (steel) sector experienced regression, the report said.

JS Global analyst Danish Ladhani said despite a positive open, the KSE-100 index closed flat at 46,906 (down 28 points) after a choppy trading session. Around 440 million shares were traded during the day.

Fauji Fertiliser Bin Qasim (+0.6%) in the fertiliser sector closed positive with trading volume of 9.6 million shares on news reports that the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) had allowed the continuation of gas supply to the company for another five years.

Moreover, Mari Petroleum (+7.5%) closed at its upper circuit on news that the ECC had approved the removal of cap on the distribution of dividend. As a result, Oil and Gas Development Company (+2.6%), which had a 20% stake in Mari Petroleum, also closed in the green.

Selling pressure was noted in the pharmaceutical sector where AGP Limited (-7.4%) fell to its lower limit and Searle (-1.9%) came under pressure.

 “We recommend investors to avail any upside as an opportunity to sell stocks as the market is overbought,” the analyst said.

Overall, trading volumes dropped to 440.3 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 616.3 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs26.4 billion.

Shares of 430 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 161 stocks closed higher, 248 declined and 21 remained unchanged.

Pakistan Refinery was the volume leader with 34.5 million shares, gaining Rs0.27 to close at Rs28.19. It was followed by TRG Pakistan with 30.4 million shares, losing Rs4.42 to close at Rs114.99 and K-Electric with 19.2 million shares, losing Rs0.11 to close at Rs4.56.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs310.1 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.

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