Stocks end flat as soft economic data spurs investor caution

Pakistan Stock Exchange's (PSX) benchmark KSE 100-share Index shed 43.20 points or 0.06 percent to close at 70,290.12 points

By Our Correspondent
April 19, 2024
A stockbroker monitors the share prices during a trading session at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) in Karachi on May 16, 2022. — AFP

Stocks witnessed a lackluster session on Thursday, closing flat with a downward bias as investors grappled with economic uncertainties, resulting in cautious trading, dealers said.


The Pakistan Stock Exchange's (PSX) benchmark KSE 100-share Index shed 43.20 points or 0.06 percent to close at 70,290.12 points. The highest index of the day remained at 70,645.30 points while the lowest level was recorded at 69,783.32 points.

The KSE-30 index decreased by 26.78 points or 0.12 percent to 23,093.81 points.“Stocks closed under pressure amid a slump in global crude oil prices and steady government treasury bond yields, dimming rate cut hopes,” said analyst Ahsan Mehanti at Arif Habib Corp.

"Dismal data for car sales falling 37 percent year-on-year for July-Mar’24, fiscal deficit rising to 7.4 percent of GDP for FY24, weak rupee and SBP fines on blue chip commercial banks for regulatory violations played a catalytic role in negtive close."

Traded shares decreased by 2 million shares to 440.314 million shares from 442.096 million shares. The trading value rose to Rs24.362 billion from Rs16.034 billion. Market capital narrowed to Rs9.786 trillion against Rs9.795 trillion. Of 359 companies active in the session, 166 closed in green, 174 in red and 19 remained unchanged.

Maaz Mulla, an analyst at Topline Securities, said the benchmark index began positively, reaching a high of 311.98 points. "However, investors chose to capitalize on gains, leading to an intraday low of 550 points, ultimately closing at 70,290.11."

Several factors contributed to the index's downward movement, with companies like MEBL,

LUCK, HUBC, BAHL, and HBL collectively shedding 262 points. Conversely, EFERTL, MCB, and FATIMA made positive contributions, collectively adding 177 points to the index.

The highest increase was recorded in Rafhan Maize Products Company Limited shares, which rose by Rs81.10 to Rs8,380.10 per share, followed by Hallmark Company Limited, which increased by Rs52 to Rs748 per share.

A significant decline was noted in Nestle Pakistan Limited, which fell by Rs52.50 to Rs7,547.50 per share, followed by Hoechst Pakistan Limited, which closed lower by Rs50 to Rs1,300 per share.

Brokerage Arif Habib Ltd said the benchmark index found support at the crucial 70,000 points level, bolstering confidence among investors and keeping upside prospects intact.In corporate news, EFERT reported its 1QCY24 earnings per share (EPS) at 8.08, marking a significant 145 percent year-on-year increase.

The company's dividend per share (DPS) was reported at 8, surpassing expectations and driving the share price to new all-time highs.Meanwhile, MEBL reported its 1QCY24 EPS at 14.18, reflecting a robust 64.5 percent year-on-year growth.

Brokerage Arif Habib said Thursday's low serves as a marker for price action, indicating potential upward movement towards the current weekly high at 71,000.

"Investors are closely monitoring market dynamics and corporate earnings reports for further insights into the market direction as the week progresses. "

Cnergyico PK remained the volume leader with 33.241 million shares which closed lower by 8 paisas to Rs4.55 per share. K-Electric Ltd followed it with 29.877 million shares, which closed higher by 6 paisas to Rs4.43 per share.

Other significant turnover stocks included Pak Refinery, PTCL, WorldCall Telecom, Fauji Cement, PIAC (A), Kohinoor Spining, Pak Int. Bulk and TPL Properties. In Future Market, 307 companies recorded trading, of which 97 increased, 204 decreased and 6 remained unchanged.