Bulls held control of the stock market on Thursday and the KSE-100 index climbed 102 points amid cautious trading.
Political and regional instability failed to break the rising momentum of the index. On the domestic front, opposition parties had threatened to resign from the national and provincial assemblies, which was anticipated to impact trading during the session.
An overall lack of positive triggers, however, restrained the index from posting handsome gains and resulted in range-bound trading.
In the morning, trading began on a positive note and the KSE-100 index stayed in the green zone for most part of the session. Activity remained lackustre due to no encouraging news to give direction to the market. Still, the index managed to cross the 42,300-point mark.
At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded an increase of 101.81 points, or 0.24%, to settle at 42,305.84 points.
A report of Arif Habib Limited stated that the market maintained the cautious stance as had been witnessed in previous sessions. However, in the process, it discounted the potential negative impact of resignation by opposition lawmakers from the national and provincial assemblies as well as the threat of a false Indian “flag operation”.
Investors focused their attention on fundamentally sound stocks, particularly the main board companies, such as HBL and NBP, which not only had dividend prospects but had also shown healthy profits.
The cement sector remained range bound as did oil and gas marketing companies and fertiliser firms.
“Investors, in general, have been waiting for a clear positive trigger and have weathered the threat from political as well as law and order situation,” the report said.
JS Global analyst Danish Ladhani said the benchmark KSE-100 index again traded sideways and touched a high and low of +237 and -84 points respectively to finally close at 42,306, up 102 points.
The market remained in the consolidation phase with mixed activity in banks among which HBL (+0.8%), Bank AL Habib (+1.3%) and Bank Alfalah (+1.9%) closed in the green while UBL (-0.3%) and Habib Metro (-0.5%) ended lower.
Volume leaders were Pakistan International Bulk Terminal (+5%), Unity Foods (+1.8%), K-Electric (-1.6%), Pakistan Refinery (+1.6%) and TRG Pakistan (+2.6%), which cumulatively contributed 187 million shares to the total volumes.
Lower investor participation could be attributed to cross-border tensions as Pakistan Army was put on high alert amid the threat of another attempt by India to conduct a “surgical strike” inside Pakistan’s territory, he said.
Moreover, the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) rally was due to be held at the weekend. “Moving forward, we recommend investors to take positions in blue chip stocks on the weaker side,” the analyst said.
Overall, trading volumes rose to 472.4 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 438.1 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs19.3 billion.
Shares of 400 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 194 stocks closed higher, 190 declined and 16 remained unchanged.
Pakistan International Bulk Terminal was the volume leader with 50 million shares, gaining Rs0.65 to close at Rs13.55. It was followed by Unity Foods with 35.6 million shares, gaining Rs0.51 to close at Rs28.43 and K-Electric with 34.1 million shares, losing Rs0.06 to close at Rs3.63.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs316.8 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.