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PSX rout persists as lockdown spurs slowdown fears

By Our Reporter
April 24, 2021

Stocks eroded further on Friday owing to worries that rigorous anti-Covid measures, which seem highly likely, might reverse the economic recovery in the short-term, dealers said.

KSE-100 Shares Index, the benchmark of Pakistan Stock Exchange, lost 0.5 percent or 222.85 points to close at 44,706.76 points.

“Pressure in market can largely be attributed to NCC (National Coordination Committee) meeting, as investors anticipate further tough measures to curb rising Covid cases will be implemented, which might hamper business activity,” Topline Securities said in a note.

However, the brokerage added that some recovery was observed in latter hours of trade, as investor’s factored in the government’s softer stance on a full-scale lockdown.

The ready market volumes stood at 240.48 million shares compared with the turnover of 328.93 million shares in the last trading session.

An analyst at Arif Habib Limited said market declined further again in anticipation of lockdown at national level that caused investors to adopt cautious approach and avoid taking new positions.

As many as 364 scrips were active of which 126 advanced, 223 declined, and 15 ended neutral.

Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the armed forces on Friday to assist the law enforcement agencies in implementing Covid-19 SOPs (standard operating procedures) as the country was edging closer to a health crisis that could force the government to impose a complete lockdown.

The premier's remarks came following a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) on Covid-19.

The meeting was held to review the overall situation of the pandemic in the country.

KSE-30 Shares Index also closed 0.54 percent or 98.7 points lower at 18,276.47 points.

Ahsan Mehanti at Arif Habib Corp said stocks closed lower amid pressure in scrips across the board as investors weighed negative impact of Covid pandemic on industrial output and exports.

Weak global crude oil prices, surging circular debt, and rupee instability dented the index.

Muhammad Mubashir at JS Global Capital said the market opened in red zone and touched a low of 44,363 points and remained under pressure amid announcement of countrywide lockdowns.

However, there was a partial recovery later in the day and the index closed at 44,706 points, Mubashir added.

Kot Addu Power Company announced financial results, which had little impact on stock price because it did not declare a dividend against the market expectation.

Oil and gas marketing, exploration and production, cement, and steel sector stocks saw selling pressure from institutional investors.

Among notable scrips, Ghani Global gained 4.9 percent, TRG Pakistan was up 2.6 percent, Unity Foods was down 1.6 percent, Byco Petroleum declined 0.5 percent, and Telecard Limited gained 7.4 percent.

Good activity was witnessed in Habib Metropolitan Bank as it gained 7.4 percent, after announcing earning per share of Rs3.1 in its first quarter financial results.

Overall, analysts recommend investors to avail downsides as a buying opportunity in technology, refinery, and steel sectors.

Gatron Industries, up Rs33.35 to close at Rs478.08/share, and Mahmood Textile, up Rs30.08 to close at Rs490.08/share claimed the best gains of the day.

Colgate Palmolive, down Rs208.99 to close at Rs2,590.01/share, and Wyeth Pakistan, down Rs30.06 to end at Rs929.95/share, suffered the worst losses.

Ghani Global led the turnover chart with 38.78 million shares, followed by Worldcall Telecom with 24.11 million shares, and TRG Pakistan with a trade of 23.64 million shares.