Market watch: Stocks record meagre gain in choppy trading


The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) ended the week on a flat note on Friday, with the benchmark KSE-100 index crawling up nearly 5 points.

The index oscillated between red and green zones as certain sectors experienced selling pressure. Investors were concerned over rising coronavirus cases, which prevented the market from advancing further.

On the last day of the week, investors decided to liquidate positions and wait and watch for market direction, going forward.

Despite choppy trading, investors were comforted by a host of positive news, which included 4.8% growth in output of large-scale manufacturing (LSM) industries in the first quarter of current fiscal year.

Moreover, encouraging remittances data, which remained over $2 billion for the fifth consecutive month in October 2020, lent further support to the bulls.

Earlier, trading began on a positive note but unfortunately tables turned and the bourse failed to sustain the momentum with the first session remaining largely volatile. The second session also resumed in the green where bears and bulls tried to wrestle control of the market.

However, despite positive developments, the index slipped and finished with a meagre gain of 5 points.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded an increase of 4.79 points, or 0.01%, to settle at 40,569.35 points.

A report of Arif Habib Limited stated that after touching intraday low of 40,262 points (down 302 points), the index traded between a narrow range for most part of the session, intermittently going green and red by 50 points.

“Selling pressure was observed earlier during the first session in cement, exploration and production, oil and gas marketing sector stocks, whereby Sui Northern Gas Pipelines traded at its lower circuit for the entire session and the exploration and production sector traded below previous day’s close,” it added.

“However, the cement sector staged a recovery by the end of first session and carried the momentum in the second session as well.”

Sectors contributing to the performance included exploration and production (-11 points), oil and gas marketing companies (-7 points), pharmaceutical (-1 point), technology (+5 points) and banks (+5 points).

Individually, stocks that contributed positively to the index included Systems Limited (+6 points), HBL (+2 points), Hubco (+2 points), Mari Petroleum (+2 points) and Lucky Cement (+2 points).

Stocks that contributed negatively were Pakistan Oilfields (-6 points), Oil and Gas Development Company (-5 points), Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (-4 points), Pakistan Petroleum (-3 points) and Pakistan State Oil (-2 points).

Overall, trading volumes dropped to 243.1 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 328.3 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs7.9 billion.

Shares of 387 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 199 stocks closed higher, 165 declined and 23 remained unchanged.

Pakistan Refinery was the volume leader with 28.3 million shares, gaining Rs0.80 to close at Rs18.45. It was followed by Unity Foods with 19.6 million shares, gaining Rs0.18 to close at Rs22.53 and TRG Pakistan with 15.3 million shares, losing Rs0.63 to close at Rs52.54.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs113.1 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.