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April 19, 2019

Stocks flat in turbulent trade as investors shrug off finmin’s exit


April 19, 2019

Stocks on Thursday swung in all directions to finish flat in a turbulent session, following Asad Umar’s resignation as finance minister at a time when an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout agreement is in final stages and the federal budget for next fiscal around the corner, dealers said.

Mohammad Sohail, Chief Executive Officer Topline Securities said that apparently the resignation was due to delay in IMF package; however, the current team at finance ministry and central bank were well equipped to nail the IMF deal.

“Investors are hopeful that government would finalise the deal,” Sohail said and added:” However, the key challenges for the new finance minister would be the upcoming budget and the thorniest issue would be how to raise revenue collection and what measures to adopt to boost foreign investment”.

Pakistan Stock Exchange’s (PSX) benchmark KSE-100 shares index ended 0.16 percent or 59.29 points higher to close at 36,811.86 points, whereas KSE-30 gained 0.29 percent or 50.89 points to end at 17,458.53 points.

Of 323 active scrips, 118 moved up, 185 retreated, and 20 remained unchanged. Traded volume was up 25 percent to 216 million shares compared to 172.862 million shares in the previous session.

Madiha Javed head of research at Ismail Iqbal Securities said the market remained positive in initial hours of the session today on SBP’s clarification on Treasury Single Account (TSA), which was in examination phase and would only be implemented after assessment of its impact on the banking sector.

“The index turned volatile after Asad Umar announced his resignation, which received mixed reactions, with the benchmark index recovering near the end of the day,” Madiha said.

However, the timing of his quitting is sensitive given the ongoing talks with IMF and the budget FY20 expected to be announced next month, Madiha added.

Analyst Ahsan Mehanti from Arif Habib Corporations said stocks showed recovery led by selected oil, cement, and banking scrips amid speculation in the pre-budget rally at the PSX.

“Renewed hopes for economic stability ahead of approval of IMF bailout package, rupee stability, and the likely resolve to the proposed tax amnesty scheme helped the market stay afloat,” Mehanti added.

Salman Ahmad, director institutional sales at Aba Ali Habib Securities, said the market remained mixed but the Asad Umar’s resignation was a setback.

“Down the line, the market is expected to remain dull as investors are wondering who will be the next finance minister and what policies/ measures he/she will adopt to boost sentiment of investors,” Ahmad said. An analyst from Arif Habib Limited said this development hit the market like lightning and at one stage the index slipped by almost 275 points, hinting that uncertainty would engulf the capital market.

The highest gainers were Indus Motor Company up Rs13.42 to close at Rs1301.45/share, and Pakistan Suzuki, up Rs8.02 to finish at Rs252.72/share.

Companies that booked highest losses were Sanofi-Aventis, down Rs34.99 to close at Rs765.00/share, and Service Industries Limited, down Rs13.52 to close at Rs745.71/share.

Unity Foods recorded the highest volumes with a turnover of 41.826 million shares. The scrip gained Rs0.15 to close at Rs1.10/share. The lowest volumes were witnessed in BOP recording a turnover of 53.328 million shares, whereas the scrip lost Rs0.92 to end at Rs11.62/share.