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July 25, 2020

Stocks end flat in choppy trade; investors pause after recent rally


July 25, 2020

Stocks were little changed on Friday as investors took profits on recent gainers such as drugmakers and cement, but expectations that companies will report strong quarterly financials supported sentiment, dealers said.

Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) benchmark KSE-100 shares index gained 0.08 percent or 29.41 points to close at 37,607.62 points level. KSE-30 shares index followed suit with a high of 0.17 percent or 27.92 points to end at 16,315.36 points level.

Of 373 active scrips, 158 up, 201 retreated, and 14 remained unchanged. The ready market volumes stood at 266.531 million shares, as compared with the turnover of 379.281 million shares in the previous session.

Dealers said weekend also discouraged investors to take long positions and selling was witnessed in volume-centered cement, steel, oil and pharma shares.

Arif Rehman, director research at Foundation Securities said since last two session values of cement stocks fell sharply on technical correction and market rumours that some penalty would be imposed because of cartelization.

“However, above expectations financials from Habib Bank resulted in market recovery in the second half. Market at once stage dipped by 300 points but closing appeared in bit positive territory,” Rehman added.

Analyst Ahsan Mehanti from Arif Habib Corporations said socks showed some recovery led by banking and fertiliser scrips on strong valuations.

“Reports of surging fertilizer sales, surging banking spreads, $750 million financing deals with World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and NEPRA approvals for increase in power tariff easing circular debt crises played catalytic role in positive close,” Mehanti added.

Pakistan has signed two concessional financing agreements with World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Development Bank worth $750 million, which will be disbursed soon and help beef up foreign currency reserves, which might give stability to domestic currency versus dollar.

Salman Ahmad, head of institutional sales at Ab Ali Habib said investors failed to receive any positive developments on the economic front, whereas because of the rollover week, Eid holidays.

“Moreover after the Eid holidays market might receive fresh infusion of funds to help build fresh rally, but after reaching 38,000 level, index is facing resistance and selling pressure,” Ahmad added.

Fahad Rauf, deputy director at Ismail Iqbal Securities said the equities remained sideways as profit taking was on the driving seat.

“The market also followed global and regional trends as the US markets closed in red on worse than expected job data, while Asian markets remained in negative column due to US-China conflict, Rauf added.

The top gainers were Atlas Honda Limited, gaining Rs23.41 to close at Rs405.91/share, and Thal Industries Corporations, up Rs17.05 to finish at Rs278.00/share, while Unilever Foods, down Rs320.00 to close at Rs9,230.00/share, and Sapphire Textiles, losing Rs69.99 to close at Rs900.00/share, were the main losers.

Unity Foods Limited posted the highest volumes with 21.638 million shares, and gained Rs0.09 to end at Rs12.72/share.

Maple Leaf turnover was the lowest with 7.137 million shares, whereas the scrip lost Rs0.45 to end at Rs30.42/share.