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Stocks make lukewarm gains in noncommittal trade

Business

March 4, 2021

Stocks walked a tightrope on Wednesday as investors watched the Senate polls with bated breath; however, fresh interest in cyclical, auto, and power kept the index ticking, dealers said.

KSE-100 Shares Index gained 0.43 percent or 196.51 points to close at 46,160.78 points at Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), while traded volume increased to 403.693 million shares from 399.187 million shares on Tuesday.

Brokerage Arif Habib Limited in a report said the market traded in the positive zone for a good part of the session, cheering Senate elections.

Besides, energy chain remained recipient of fresh flows from investors on the back of release of funds from government in conclusion of deal with Independent Power Producers, the brokerage added.

As many as 407 scrips were active, of which 238 advanced, 147 declined, and 22 remained unchanged.

Ahsan Mehanti at Arif Habib Corp said stocks recovered, led by scrips across the board, as investors weighed rising global crude oil prices, a jump of 14 percent in cement offtake, and a 13 percent increase in oil sales.

Strong rupee recovery and speculations on likely amicable political Senate voting kept the stocks buoyed, Mehanti added.

KSE-30 Shares Index also rose 0.33 percent or 63.24 points to close at 19,299.03 points.

Other than banks and energy stocks, the overall market saw price gains especially in cement, steel, oil and gas marketing, refineries, and power sectors.

Topline Securities in a report said after positive opening, the market made an intraday high of 225 points, where interest was mostly seen centered in cyclical sector as International Steel, CHCC, DGKC, and Pioneer Cement closed higher.

Meanwhile, financials further pushed the index higher as MCB, Meezan Bank, and Bank Al Falah collectively contributed 52 points to the index, the brokerage

added.

Cement sales increased 6.1 percent year-on-year to 3.9 million tons in February, but exports dropped 18.2 percent to 616,030 tons, according to the industry’s data. Overall, cement sales and exports stood at 4.5 million tons in February 2021 as against 4.4 million tons in the same month a year earlier, depicting around two percent growth.

Danish Ladhani at JS Global Capital said KSE-100 index remained lackluster as it traded between +225 and -41 points before finally closing the session at 46,161 levels, up 0.4 percent.

Activity was seen in the cements where Cherat Cement gained 3.1 percent, Kohat Cement 0.9 percent, D.G Khan Cement 1.4 percent, while Lucky Cement grew 0.2 percent, he added.

He further said mixed sentiment was seen in the financials where Habib Bank Limited and United Bank Limited lost 1.7 percent and 1.4 percent respectively, while MCB Bank gained 1.3 percent.

“In light of the expected volatility in the market, we recommend investors to remain cautious and avail any downside as an opportunity to build positions in the cement, refinery and textile sectors,” Ladhani said.

Unilever Foods, gaining Rs499 to close at Rs14,499/share, and Bata Pakistan rising Rs145.5 to close at Rs2,085.5/share emerged as the top two gainers of the day.

Sapphire Textile, losing Rs20.69 to close at Rs999.98/share, and AKD Capital, shedding Rs20.31 to end at Rs364.7/share, were the worst hit stocks.

Azgard Nine was the volume leader with 32.03 million traded shares, followed by TRG Pakistan 27.79 million, and Byco Petroleum with 27.59 million shares.