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April 14, 2021

Stocks flat on virus fears, political unrest


April 14, 2021

KARACHI: Stocks on Tuesday flatlined in a range-bound trade as investors played safe given the rising Covid infections and a brewing political unrest, dealers said.

Pakistan Stock Exchange’s (PSX) KSE-100 Shares Index gained 0.16 percent or 70.52 points to close at 45,048.57 points. KSE-30 shares index shed 0.03 percent or 6.45 points to close at 18,436.44 points.

An analyst at Pearl Securities said the benchmark index witnessed squiggly movement amid a political rift from a religious party representative while Covid continued to strike as Pakistan registered 4,318 new cases and 118 people lost their battle against the lethal virus.

“Central bank’s governor is optimistic of 3.0 percent GDP growth whereby Pakistan's overseas remittances exceed $2 billion for 10th straight month”.

As many as 398 scrips were active of which 174 advanced, 201 declined and 23 remained unchanged.

The ready market volumes stood at 473.433 million shares compared with the turnover of 503.52 million shares in the last trading session.

Ahsan Mehanti at Arif Habib Corp said stocks showed recovery led by banking and fertiliser scrips as investor weighed receipt of $2.7 billion record remittances in March and central bank’s projections of 3.0 percent GDP growth in FY21.

“Easing political noise, IMF affirmations on positive economic indicators, and rupee stability led to bullish close at PSX,” Mehanti added.

An analyst at Arif Habib Limited said market traded in a narrow range between -198 points and +155 points as the main board scrips had largely been in consolidation.

“Banking sector stocks inched up with particular interest in United Bank, especially by the end of session. Technology stocks witnessed a see-saw moment when Netsol Technologies rebounded to hit upper circuit, whereas TRG Pakistan saw some selling pressure,” the analyst said.

Danish Ladhani at JS Global Capital said volatility ruled the market amid profit-taking. “High-Tech Lubricants (HTL) has decided to enter new business opportunities in the plastic packaging industry by venturing into the production of plastic products for external customers and third parties, [which was taken positively by investors],” Ladhani said. Stocks that contributed positively to the index included UBL, up 2.1 percent, Habib Bank, up 0.9 percent, Bank Al Habib, up 1.65 percent, Sui Northern Gas, up 5.11 percent, and Fauji Fertilizer bin Qasim, up 4.14 percent.

Analysts expect the market to remain volatile and recommend booking profits on the higher side; however, sharp dips could be taken as an opportunity to accumulate stocks in the cement and steel sectors.

AKD Capital, up Rs30.84 to close at Rs442.15/share, and Nestle Pakistan, adding Rs30 to close at Rs5850/share, were the best gainers of the day.

Rafhan Maize, down Rs394.5 to close at Rs9,205.5/share, and Gadoon Industries, shedding Rs41.54 to end at Rs512.42/share, were the worst losers.

Highest volumes were witnessed in First National Equities with a turnover of 106.55 million shares.

The scrip shed Rs1.0 to close at Rs11.93/share. Unity Foods was second with a turnover of 29.88 million shares.

It gained 26 paisas to close at Rs31.09/share. Byco Petroleum was third with a turnover of 28.55 million shares. It gained 12 paisas to finish at Rs10.13.