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October 18, 2019

Stocks lose as political fears weigh ahead of FATF announcement


October 18, 2019

Stocks on Thursday succumbed to profit-taking as investors switched on risk-off mode on fears of a likely political turmoil ahead of global anti-terror financing body’s official announcement on Pakistan status on Friday, dealers said.

Pakistan Stock Exchange’s (PSX) benchmark KSE-100 shares index lost 1.12 percent (382.53 points) to close at 33,898.56 points, while KSE-30 fell 1.35 percent (217.28 points) to end at 15,822.20 points.

Ahsan Mehanti from Arif Habib Corporations said, “Stocks closed lower as risk appetite is fading amid political uncertainty and concerns over foreign outflows”. Strong quarterly financial results in banking, telecom, and energy stocks invited late session support, Mehanti added.

“FATF (Financial Action Task Force) uncertainty and IMF (International Monetary Fund) Fiscal Monitor 2019 projections for budget deficit at 8.8 percent and government debt at 78.6 percent of the GDP in FY20 weighed on stocks,” he added.

Of 364 active scrips, 109 advanced, 234 retreated, and 21 were unchanged. Volumes reached 137.994 million shares, as compared with 151.367 million shares in the previous session.

Madiha Javed, head of research at Ismail Iqbal Securities said, “The benchmark index closed in red as investors resorted to profit-taking”. “Focus remained on the outcome of FATF meeting where the official press briefing is scheduled for tomorrow at noon CET (3pm PST).”

Initial reports seem to suggest that Pakistan’s greylisting will persist till February next year, Javed said. Salman Ahmad, head of institutional sales at Aba Ali Habib Securities, said, “The market since hitting its lowest in August has gained 20 percent, creating room for some adjustment”.

“The market in three sessions, barring Wednesday, lost more than 600 points and the breaching of 34,000 points level raised caution among investors.” The market went down because of the selling pressure in oil and exploration stocks following decline in crude oil prices because of heavy weight it impacted the overall index, Ahmad said.

“Investors have been waiting for a final formal word from FATF, which will set the future direction of the market,” he said.

Another analyst said the market had been under a spelling pressure for the last two sessions in the wake of the apex bourse’s introducing brokerage commission system which thinned the


Moreover, the market was also abuzz with unverified reports the regulator was all set to introduce the requirement of a minimum capital, amounting to Rs250 million, for the brokers. If imposed, it would reduce the number of brokers as an amount this big would force several small units to exit, said an analyst.

The highest gainers were Rafhan Maize, up Rs264.50 close at Rs7100.00/share, and Colgate Palmolive, down Rs54.01 to finish at Rs2079.00/share. Companies that booked highest losses were Mari Petroleum, down Rs44.82 to close at Rs1015.38/share, and Nestle Pakistan, down Rs40 to close at Rs5525.00/share.

Lotte Chemical recorded the highest volumes with 59.646 million shares, while it gained Rs0.34 end at Rs16.61/share. Abdullah Shah’s turnover was the lowest of the day with 1.882 million shares, whereas the scrip strengthened by Rs0.31 to end at Rs3.47/share.