KARACHI: The stock market got a reprieve from the bearish trend of the past two days as the benchmark index managed to finish trading on a positive note.
The KSE-100 index fell from the moment trading began, pushed lower by selling pressure on oil and gas exploration companies. News regarding divestment of government stake in Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC), Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) and Kot Addu Power Company had a significant selling impact.
Deteriorating macroeconomic indicators aggravated the situation as the fiscal deficit jumped to 8.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) in FY19, despite government’s numerous efforts to cut expenditures and boost revenues.
Resultantly, the market lost over 550 points in intra-day trading, however, it managed to post decent recovery due to strong power sector earnings and announcement to privatise more public sector enterprises.
At close, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded an increase of 64.25 points, or 0.21%, to settle at 30,584.85 points.
JS Global analyst Maaz Mulla said equities closed on a flat note as the bourse remained under pressure due to developments on the political front.
“Moreover, the Privatisation Commission board has approved the expansion of the active privatisation list by adding 10 entities including PPL and OGDC, which was negative for the market,” he said.
The exploration and production (E&P) sector was the major laggard where OGDC (-1.9%), PPL (-1.5%) and Pakistan Oilfields (-0.3%) closed in the red.
Moreover, mixed sentiment was seen in the financial sector where HBL (-2.1%) and MCB Bank (-1.6%) remained in the red but UBL (+1.5%) was in the positive zone.
In the auto sector, Indus Motor (+0.6%) announced its FY19 results where the company reported earnings per share of Rs174.49 vs Rs200.66 in the previous year with dividend per share of Rs27.50.
The cement sector showed some positivity. Lucky Cement (+3.2%) and Fauji Cement (+2.5%) were among positive performers while the latter also reported FY19 earnings per share of Rs2.05 vs Rs2.49 last year with cash payout of Rs0.75 per share.
“Moving ahead, we expect the market to remain under pressure until further clarity emerges on the political front, particularly pertaining to border tensions,” the analyst said.
Overall, trading volumes decreased to 119.8 million shares compared with Monday’s tally of 122.1 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs5.3 billion.
Shares of 331 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 181 stocks closed higher, 131 declined and 19 remained unchanged.
Lotte Chemical was the volume leader with 8.4 million shares, gaining Rs0.11 to close at Rs16.63. It was followed by Unity Foods with 7.1 million shares, gaining Rs0.07 to close at Rs8.64 and OGDC with 6.6 million shares, losing Rs2.25 to close at Rs113.97.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs16.5 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.