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Friday February 23, 2024

Stocks retreat from record as investors lock in gains

By Our Correspondent
November 30, 2023

Stocks snapped a seven-session winning streak on Wednesday, as investors booked profits after the benchmark index crossed 61,000 points for the first time in earlier trade.

Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX)'s benchmark KSE-100 Index fell 228.27 points or 0.38 percent to close at 60,502 points. The index traded in a wide range of 1,227.66 points, showing an intraday high of 61,555.84 (+825.57) and a low of 60,328.18 (-402.09) points.

An undated image of the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) building in Karachi. — AFP/File
An undated image of the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) building in Karachi. — AFP/File

The day started with another rally, leading the index beyond the 61,000 mark for the first time in history. However, the market witnessed profit selling, which eroded the gains and kept the index in the red for the rest of the session.

"Pressure was witnessed in the market after the World Bank cautioned over the present worst economic crisis linked to deep-rooted vested interests of the elite and political opportunism hindering foreign investment," said analyst Ahsan Mehanti at Arif Habib Corp.

He said that the government's decision to raise the industrial gas tariff amid Rs 4.5 trillion energy sector circular debt crisis, reports of dismal data on cement sales further falling in the winter season, and concerns for the finance minister's warning of unsustainable debt and painful domestic debt restructuring played a catalytic role in the bearish close.

Of the 100 index companies, 25 closed up, 55 closed down, 1 was unchanged, while 19 remained untraded. The total volume of the KSE-100 Index was 343.522 million shares.

KSE-100 Index was brought down by commercial banks with 112 points, textile composite with 42.55 points, pharmaceuticals with 41.84 points, power generation & distribution with 36.92 points, and oil & gas exploration companies with 32.23 points.

Companies dragging the index lower were HBL with 63.53 points, MEBL with 35.04 points, HUBC with 28.92 points, ILP with 26.86 points, and SEARL with 25.75 points.

KSE-100 index was supported by automobile assembler with 42.73 points, miscellaneous with 24.76 points, investment banks/investment companies/securities companies with 23.16 points, tobacco with 12.84 points, and refinery with 12.41 points.

Companies adding points to the index were MTL with 36.28 points, PSEL with 22.68 points, ENGRO with 17.01 points, MCB with 16.48 points, and DGKC with 16.01 points.

Brokerage Topline Securities said the market underwent a correction, concluding the session with a decrease of 0.38 percent. "Initially, there was a positive start with a rally that propelled the index beyond the 61,000 mark for the first time. However, within an hour of trading, the emergence of selling pressure led to a reversal, erasing the earlier gains and taking the index into negative territory for the rest of the session," the brokerage said.

The index showed significant volatility throughout the day, ranging by 1,227.66 points. It reached an intraday high of 61,555.84, marking an increase of 825.57 points, and a low of 60,328.18, reflecting a decline of 402.09 points, it added.

During the day, E&P, auto, fertilizer, bank, and cement sectors contributed positively as MTL, ENGRO, MCB, DGKC, and POL collectively added 102 points to the index. Conversely, HBL, MEBL, and HUBC together caused a loss of 127 points.

BOP led the trading volume for the day, witnessing 50 million shares changing hands. Overall, the market demonstrated robust activity, with a total trading volume of 690 million shares, translating to a value of Rs 27 billion.