Stocks end flat in range-bound trade

By Our Correspondent
March 22, 2023

Stocks witnessed a range-bound session on Tuesday and ended flat amid low volumes, as delays in a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) kept worrying the investors, who opted for profit-taking, traders said.


The Pakistan Stock Exchange's (PSX) benchmark KSE 100-share Index closed slightly lower by 40.47 points or 0.10 percent to 40,877.98 points against 40,918.45 points recorded in the last session. The highest index of the day remained at 40,990.25 points while the lowest level of the day was recorded at 40,698.43 points.

Analyst Ahsan Mehanti at Arif Habib Corp said, “Stocks closed lower as investors weigh dismal data on FDIs [foreign direct investments] of $784 million falling by 40 percent YoY [year-on-year] for Jul-Feb’23, and the weak rupee.”

He added that delays over IMF staff-level agreement on the bailout package, industrial closures over foreign exchange reserves worries, and political uncertainty played a catalyst role in the bearish close.

However, mid-session support was witnessed on upbeat data for a $74 million current account deficit in Feb’23 falling by 68 percent month-on-month (MoM).

KSE-30 index, however, increased by 44.86 points or 0.30 percent to 15,088.03 points compared with 15,043.17 points recorded in the last session.

Traded shares decreased by 53 million shares to 142.804 million shares from 195.477 million shares. The trading value dropped to Rs4.177 billion from Rs5.007 billion. Market capital narrowed to Rs6.235 trillion from Rs6.246 trillion. Out of 309 companies active in the session, 134 closed in green, 153 in red and 22 remained unchanged.

Ali Najib, analyst at Topline Securities, said equities had a negative day. “The KSE100 index opened in a green zone and made an intraday high at 40,990(+72 points; up 0.18 percent). But, later on, profit-taking started which pushed the index toward an intraday low at 40,697 (-221 points; down 0.54 percent) before eventually settling at 40,879 (-40 points; down 0.10 percent) for the day.”

During trading hours, according to Najib, a lacklustre sentiment was observed due to lack of clarity on the conclusion of the IMF staff level agreement.

During the day, PSEL, PAKT, PKGS, MEBL & EFERT lost 115 points, cumulatively. On the flip side, PPL, OGDC and POL witnessed some buying interest as they added 67 points.

The highest increase was recorded in shares of Rafhan Maize, which rose by Rs200 to Rs8,000 per share, followed by Nestle Pakistan, which increased by Rs66 to Rs5,181 per share. A significant decline was noted in shares of Pak Services, which fell by Rs104.10 to Rs1,283.90 per share, followed by Sapphire Fiber, which decreased by Rs71.70 to Rs888.18 per share. Brokerage Arif Habib Ltd said a range-bound session was recorded at the PSX on Tuesday. “The market opened in the red zone but traded in both directions as investors chose to be cautious due to ongoing political and economic worries,” it reported. “Investors participation remained dull awaiting clarity on the IMF front, as volumes in the mainboard dried up while 3rd tier stocks continued to dominate the volume board.”

Sectors contributing to the performance included miscellaneous (-55.0 points), commercial banks (-27.4 points), cement (-18.6 points), tobacco (7.7 points), and paper & board (-15.6 points).

WorldCall Telecom remained the volume leader with 6.046 million shares which increased by one paisa to Rs1.22 per share. It was followed by Cnergyico PK with 4.848 million shares, which increased by 10 paisas to Rs3.73 per share.

Other significant turnover stocks included Unity Foods Ltd, Pak Elektron, Hascol Petrol, Fauji Cement, TPL Properties, Ghani Glo Hol, Fauji Foods Ltd and Loads Limited.

Shares’ turnover in the future contracts decreased to 34.025 million shares from 41.827 million shares.