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April 9, 2019

Stocks fall as bleak economic outlook nags


April 9, 2019

The capital market touched six-month low on Monday, slipping 1.6 percent to fall below 37,000 points level owing to World Bank report projecting lower economic performance even 2019-20, casting dark shadows on exports and agriculture sectors, dealers said.

Madiha Javed head of research at Ismail Iqbal Securities said, “The market remained under pressure throughout the session after foreign minister’s statement that neighbouring country is planning to launch another attack on Pakistan in between April 16-20.”

World Bank, in its latest report on South Asia, revised Pakistan’s macroeconomic forecasts with FY19 growth rate to slow down to 3.4 percent, with likely inflation at 7.1 percent before increasing to 13.5 percent in FY20. In terms of index points, cements contributed the most to the index’s losses followed by E&Ps, she added.

Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) benchmark KSE-100 shares index lost 1.60 percent or 599.90 points to close at 36,921.91 points level. KSE-30 shares index followed suit with a low of 1.47 percent or 261.30 points to end at 17,473.28 points level.

Of 351 active scrips, 50 moved up, 286 retreated, and 15 remained unchanged. The ready market volumes stood at 106.972 billion shares, as compared with the turnover of 101.739 billion shares in the previous session.

Salman Ahmad, director institutional sales at Aba Ali Habib said the World Bank report on the state of the economy highlighted chronic issues hitting growth, which sent shivers across the market.

Moreover, the statement of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Querishi that India could launch strike depressed the mood of the investors. According to an analyst from Topline Securities, decline in equities was primarily followed by rumours on drop in cement prices which exerted pressure on cement stocks. The other factor was the World Bank report, which concluded Pakistan’s GDP growth to decelerate to 3.4 percent in FY19, further dropping to 2.7 percent at FY20.

Cement remained the worst performing sector, eroding 120 points from the index, followed by commercial banks and fertilisers, which cumulatively deducted 138 points from the benchmark index.

According to an analyst, last the index touched such lows was on October 16, 2018 when it ended at 36,663 points level. On that session the index was around 42,447 points and since then the market suffered an erosion of 13 percent.

A leading trader said the market needed some positive outcome from the IMF agreement. Finance Minister Asad Umar during a press conference, when the trading session almost ended in Islamabad, said the government was near to striking a deal with the IMF, with some conditions to be finalised soon.

The highest gainers were Nestle Pakistan, up Rs189.60 to close at Rs7,484.00/share, and Sitara Chemical, up Rs12.48 to finish at Rs308.88/share. Companies that booked highest losses were Rafhan Maize, down Rs270.00 to close at Rs6,355.00/share, and Unilever Foods, down Rs67.50 to close at Rs6,250.00/share.

WorldCall Telecom recorded the highest volumes with a turnover of 4.722 million shares. The scrip gained Rs0.02 to close at Rs1.16/share. The lowest volumes were witnessed in K-Electric Limited, recording a turnover of 10.902 billion shares, whereas the scrip lost Rs0.25 to end at Rs4.98/share.

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