Stocks up as political tensions ease; blue-chip shares in limelight

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SOURCEThe News
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KARACHI: With oil, steel, and banking sectors stealing most of the limelight, stocks on Wednesday made up for some of yesterday’s losses, trading in a tight range, mostly taking cue from a letup in the political crisis, triggered following top court’s ruling on army chief’s extension.

Pakistan Stock Exchange’s (PSX) KSE-100 shares index gained 0.87 percent (327.67 points) to close at 38,122.72 points, while its KSE-30 index secured 0.76 percent (131.5 points) to end at 17,523.17 points.

An analyst at Arif Habib Limited said, “Political uncertainty has been at the center stage since yesterday after Supreme Court of Pakistan took notice of army chief’s extension. “Considering this to be a procedural issue, which will be resolved by the government, market took a positive view of the situation and partly recovered points lost in yesterday’s trading,” the analyst said.

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The ready market volumes almost halved to 228.419 million shares, compared to 488.701 million a day earlier. As many as 366 scrips were active today. Of that total, 231 advanced, 118 retreated, and 17 were unchanged.

Ahsan Mehanti at Arif Habib Corp said stocks showed recovery on institutional interest in late session buying at PSX on easing political uncertainty. “Fertiliser sector took a battering on declining urea sales for October 2019; however, higher global crude oil prices, surging world equities and speculations on likely resolution of circular debt issue kept the bulls busy at the apex bourse,” Mehanti said.

Buying activity was largely observed in steel and cement sectors, wherein steel and auto sector scrips hit upper circuits, he added. Maaz Mulla at JS Global Capital said it was a range-bound session as the benchmark index traded between an intraday high of +327 points and an intraday low of -123 points to close at 38,122 points.

“This narrow-band trade can be attributed to ongoing Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa’s extension case in the Supreme Court, while All Parties Conference (APC) of the opposition’s reiteration of its demand for fresh general elections without any interference also weighed,” Mulla added.

Banking space closed higher than yesterday’s closing, where MCB bank gained 3 percent, National Bank 1.9 percent, Meezan Bank 1.5 percent, Habib Bank 1.3 percent, and United Bank ended 1.5 percent stronger to become the major movers of the sector. A rally was witnessed in the steel sector where Ittefaq Steel surged 8.5 percent, International Steel 4.5 percent, International Industries 5 percent and Amreli Steel (ASTL) gained 1.7 percent.

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Moving ahead, analysts expect the market to remain choppy owing to uncertainties on the political front and therefore recommend investors to book profit on strength. Companies reflecting highest gains were Pakistan Tobacco, up Rs116 to close at Rs2,490/share, and Service Industries, up Rs38 to close at Rs798/share.

Unilever Foods, down Rs345 to close at Rs6,900/share, and Colgate Palmolive, down Rs69.99 to end at Rs1,980/share, were among the top losers of the day. Unity Foods posted the highest turnover with 24.032 million traded shares and gained 5 paisas to close at Rs12.99/share. Fauji Foods was second with a turnover of 20.011 million shares, while it closed at Rs13.78/share with a gain of 47 paisas. Maple Leaf was third with a turnover of 15.323 million shares; however it gained Rs1.0 to finish at Rs20.96/share.

(This news/article originally appeared in The News on November 28th, 2019)

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