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April 20, 2021

Stocks slump as mass protests stoke uncertainty


April 20, 2021

Stocks on Monday tumbled as the country’s conservative forces took to streets, but clawed back half of losses after government opened a channel of talks with protesting parties, dealers said.

Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) KSE-100 Shares Index shed 0.87 percent or 392.06 points to close at 44,913.57 points.

Topline Securities in a note said the market opened the day on a bearish note with the index printing an intraday low of -694 points or -1.53 percent amid countrywide protests announced by rightwing political parties.

However, negotiations between the government and protesting parties buoyed sentiment and helped the market recover from its low to close at 44,966 (down 392pts or -0.87 percent), the brokerage said.

The major laggards were TRG, HUBC, FFC, HBL, and PSO who cumulatively dragged the benchmark index lower by around 213 points.

Ahsan Mehanti at Arif Habib Corp said stocks closed bearish amid pressure due to security unrest in the country.

Mid-session support was witnessed in earning season on higher global crude oil prices and strong financial results in fertiliser and oil sectors, he said.

However, likely hike in power tariff for industries to ease circular debt and concerns over economic uncertainty weighed on trade, Mehanti added.

KSE-30 Shares iIdex shed 0.94 percent or 174.88 points to close at 18,362.90 points.

As many as 379 scrips were active of which 109 advanced, 255 declined and 15 remained unchanged.

Volumes improved to 363.09 million shares from 173.52 million shares in the last trading session.

An analyst at Arif Habib Limited said following the turmoil developed over the weekend on the law and order front, the KSE-100 index dropped 694 points during the session, however, recovered round about 600 points afterwards.

New finance minister’s assuming office helped boost investors’ confidence; however, selling pressure kept the recovery in check, the analyst said.

Engro Fertilizer announced financial results today with a healthy dividend payout that helped the stock perform up 3.42 percent.

Mari Petroleum has executed a revised agreement with the government giving effect to the Economic Coordination Committee decision regarding removal of cap on dividend distribution. The scrip gained 2.9 percent for the day.

Muhammad Mubashier at JS global said the KSE-100 index opened under pressure amid political noise over the weekend and saw the 45,000 level breaking in just a few minutes after the bell.

The market remained volatile throughout the day with technology under heavy selling pressure throughout the day, he said.

Mubashier further said Byco Petroleum remained in the limelight on the news it had begun work on production of compliant fuels (Euro 5 & 6) and that it will be able to convert furnace oil into petrol and diesel by 2024.

“With an expectation that volatility will prevail due to political uncertainty, we recommend investors to book profits on the higher side and wait for any sharp dips to accumulate value stocks in the cement and steel sectors,” he said.

Mari Petroleum, up Rs46 to close at Rs1615.56/share, and Rafhan Maize, up Rs44.5 to close at Rs9,250/share, were the best gainers of the day.

Colgate Palmolive, down Rs90 to close at Rs2,660/share, and Nestle Pakistan, down Rs56.82 to end at Rs5,710/share suffered most losses.

Highest volumes were witnessed in Worldcall Telecom topped the volume chart with 101.37 million traded shares, followed by Byco Petroleum with 24.25 million shares, and TRG Pakistan posting a trade of 23.39 million shares.