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May 17, 2018

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Stocks close in red, volumes at five months low

Stocks closed in red on Wednesday as political uncertainty once again spooked investors who were afraid to book long-term positions, while foreign selling further dented the sentiments and volumes plunged to five-month lows, dealers said.

Hamad Aslam, director research at Elixir Securities, said wider activity was quite dull, as a mere 77.5 million shares exchanged hands, the lowest since December 18, 2017. A sharp fall of 57 percent was recorded from the previous day, and a decline of 62 percent in 2018 till date in the average daily traded volume was perhaps a glimpse into what the trading activity would look like in the month of Ramadan, he said.

“Negative sentiments continued for the third day in a row, this time propelled by aggressive foreign selling of $10.5 million recorded yesterday (Tuesday), which turned the entire 2018 foreign flows red,” the analyst added.

Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) benchmark KSE-100 shares index shed 0.37 percent or 158.33 points to close at 42,301.20 points.

KSE-30 shares index shed 0.53 percent or 111.48 points to close at 20,725.86 points. As many as 342 scrips were active of which 131 advanced and 184 declined, whereas 27 remained unchanged.

The ready market volumes stood at 77.526 million shares as compared to the turnover of 181.104 million shares in the last session.

BIPL Securities in a report said stocks continued to drop on the back of weak political scenario and macroeconomic issues like $91.761 billion external debt by the end of March, and over Rs500 billion circular debt.

Ousted prime minister’s threat of exposing forces behind 2014 sit-ins also infused anxiety and uncertainty amongst investors, compelling them to stay on the sidelines, while participants continued to book profits in banking, energy and cement sector, analysts said.

A leading trader said rising political heat ahead of general elections, economic anxiety, and slight adjustment in Pakistan’s MSCI EM weightage with caution that increase in the weight of Chinese shares could divert funds, were enough to keep investors under pressure.

Faysal Bank, Engro Polymer and Chemicals, and Bank of Punjab stood out as the volume leaders, though all three stocks clocked negative returns for the day.

Companies with the highest gains included Pakistan Tobacco, up Rs41.67 to close at Rs1,822.50/share, and Punjab Oil, up Rs13.53 to close at Rs296.99/share.

Companies with the most losses were Bata Pakistan, down Rs75.00 to close at Rs2,165.00/share, and Hinopak Motor, down Rs24.00 to close at Rs1,002.14/share.

Highest volumes were witnessed in First Capital Sector with a turnover of 2.540 million shares. The scrip gained 44 paisas to close at Rs2.77/share.

Lowest volumes were witnessed in Faysal Bank with a turnover of 5.105 million shares. Its scrip lost 13 paisas to close at Rs24.39/share.

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