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April 22, 2021

Stocks muted as lockdown noise grows louder

Business

April 22, 2021

Stocks muted on Wednesday as lockdown noise grew louder given the Covid rampage, even eclipsing some lustrous corporate results, dealers said.

Pakistan Stock Exchange’s (PSX) KSE-100 Shares Index lost 0.21 percent or 93.24 points

to close at 45,306.54 points. Volumes ticked up to 387.908 million shares from 343.28 million on Tuesday.

A A H Soomro at KASB Securities said market remained flattish-to-red as index kept oscillating in a narrow band in the earnings week as investors weighed the strong possibility of further targeted lockdowns.

“So far, even the good results haven't been able to cheer their share prices. Today's warning from NCOC presents a grim picture of next few days/weeks as hospital capacities are overwhelmed,” Soomro said.

Tracking the benchmark KSE-30 Shares Index also shed 0.16 percent or 29.44 points to close at 18,503.46 points.

As many as 388 scrips were active of which 111 advanced, 260 declined and 17 remained unchanged.

Brokerage Arif Habib Limited in a report said the market traded in a narrow range between -174 points and +227 points.

Investors already appeared somewhat disappointed in the financial results and indifference of pertinent stocks to those results, while NCOC’s hinting towards lockdown in major cities dampened the sentiment, the brokerage said.

It added that selling pressure that ensued eroded the gains earlier made in the session.

Oil and gas marketing companies, exploration and production stocks, cement and steel sector stocks bore the brunt and waning investor morale had its bearing on technology stocks as well, Arif Habib Limited report said.

Pearl Securities in a note said the benchmark index followed its trend of ebb and flow alternatively.

“Despite clarity on political front, today’s bearish session is attributable to NCOC’s announcement of imposing new restrictions from Friday as Pakistan has crossed 77,000 active Covid

cases and recorded 148 deaths in the last 24 hours,” the brokerage said.

Ahsan Mehanti at Arif Habib Corp said early session support was witnessed in the earning season on strong financial results in fertiliser and banking sectors.

However, likely hike in power tariff for industrials to ease circular debt crises, rupee instability and slump in global crude oil prices kept the gains in checks at the PSX, Mehanti added.

From the technology sector TRG Pakistan gained 5.0 percent. However, the cement and refinery sectors witnessed selling pressure as Power Cement declined 3.5 percent, Maple Leaf Cement 2.6 percent, Pioneer Cement 1.6 percent, National Refinery 3.2 percent, Pakistan Refinery 1.6 percent, while Attock Refinery closed 2.6 percent lower.

As the trend continues, analysts recommended investors to avail the downside as a buying opportunity in the cement, refinery, and steel sectors.

AKD Capital, up Rs31.5 to close at Rs451.5/share, and Gatron Industries, up Rs28.94 to close at Rs469.95/share, were the best gainers of the day.

On the other hand, Island Textile, down Rs155.55 to close at Rs1,918.45/share, and Sapphire Textile, down Rs74.17 to end at Rs914.83/share, took the highest hits.

TRG Pakistan topped volumes chart with 46.75 million shares, trailed by Worldcall Telecom with 42.859 million shares, and Unity Foods recording a trade of 37.61 million shares.