KARACHI: Stocks moved up on Friday, closing the last session of the week positively on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s hint of likely big oil and gas discoveries from offshore Kekra-1 drilling in the Arabian Sea, dealers said.
Analyst Ahsan Mehanti from Arif Habib Corporations said, “Stocks showed recovery as investors weighed Pakistan-Malaysia $900 million agreement, US president’s affirmation on good Pakistan-US relations, and PM’s hint of likely announcements on major oil and gas discoveries in offshore drilling.”
Higher global crude prices, surging local urea prices, likely receipt of $2.1 billion loan from China, and foreign inflows played a catalytic role in the bullish close, he added. Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) benchmark KSE-100 shares index gained 0.38 percent or 147.15 points to close at 38,531.87 points level. KSE-30 shares index followed suit with a high of 0.66 percent or 119.96 points to end at 18,238.68 points level.
Of 330 active scrips, 139 moved up, 159 retreated, and 32 remained unchanged. The ready market volumes stood at 84.640 million shares, as compared with the turnover of 81.350 million shares in the previous session.
Madiha Javed, head of research at Ismail Iqbal Securities, said, “The index remained mixed throughout the session. Strong rumours on Kekra-1 offshore discovery took centre-stage and helped support the exploration and production sector with PPL (Pakistan Petroleum) and OGDC (Oil and Gas Development Company) leading the gains.”
She also attributed the gains to the positive foreign reserves position that came out the other day. “The foreign reserves number, which came in yesterday was also positive where reserves for week ending March 15 rose five percent WoW.”
However, rising dollar rate and monetary policy announcement next week, limited further upside to the index, she added. Salman Ahmad, head of institutional sales at Aba Ali Habib said the market also took notice of the Malaysian Prime Minister’s speech that they were willing to invest in Pakistan in various sectors, including the auto sector. “Proton to make healthy investment in Pakistan, which sent positive signals to investors,” he said.
Few analysts were worried about the downhill course of the local currency. The dollar on Friday touched an all-time high level, which hints that the government has been cruising to finalise deal with the International Monetary Fund, which dented domestic currency.
“The higher rate of dollar will further inflate the prices, especially of petroleum products, which will accelerate the pace of inflation, exerting pressure on economic managers to revisit the interest rate,” an analyst said. The highest gainers were Phillip Morris Pakistan, up Rs179.37 to close at Rs3,766.81/share, and Colgate Palmolive, up Rs50.00 to finish at Rs2,000.00/share.
Companies that booked highest losses were Nestle Pakistan, down Rs409.95 to close at Rs7,789.05/share, and Service Industries Limited, down Rs38.25 to close at Rs726.75/share.
Bank of Punjab recorded the highest volumes with a turnover of 12.174 billion shares. The scrip gained Rs0.08 to close at Rs13.08/share. The lowest volumes were witnessed in Pakistan Elektron, recording a turnover of 2.194 million shares, whereas the bank’s scrip lost Rs0.07 to end at Rs23.95/share.