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Market watch: KSE-100 loses ground amid lack of triggers

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KARACHI:The KSE-100 index slipped in to the red zone on Thursday and closed with a loss of 30 points due to absence of positive triggers to direct the market.

Investors chose to remain on the sidelines ahead of Pakistan’s planned meeting with the Asia Pacific Group over the weekend to discuss progress on Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations.

Trading kicked off on a positive note and the index also crossed the 30,500-point mark in early hours. However, after mid-day, the benchmark KSE-100 index began to fall and entered the negative territory. A buying spree in the last hour helped erase some of the losses.

At close, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 29.96 points, or 0.1%, to settle at 30,214.77 points.

Arif Habib Limited, in its report, pointed out that what started as a sign of recovery turned out to be a short-lived spike.

“DG Khan Cement and Maple Leaf Cement that started the day on a positive note and saw upper circuit and close to upper circuit trades, respectively, price came down sharply in the end, due to rumour of rights issue by both companies,” it said.

Similarly, steel sector scrips also showed positive trend in the beginning but closed red in the end.

Exploration and production sector barely sustained Wednesday’s stride and closed at almost the same rate as the previous session.

Besides, Pakistan Oilfields opened the day ex-dividend and spiked due to buying activity, however, the end of session again saw it trading below opening rate.

Financial, automobile and oil and gas marketing companies sectors also contributed to the slide in index.

JS Global analyst Maaz Mulla said the market remained volatile throughout the day.

“Profit-booking was seen in the market where investors started reducing intraday positions,” he said.

Among heavyweights, major laggards were Pakistan Oilfields (-0.1%), MCB (-2.4%), Engro (-1.8%) and UBL (-1.8%).

Volumes improved to 147 million shares, with Maple Leaf Cement leading as 17 million shares were exchanged.

Among major news, the federal government decided to withdraw the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) Ordinance 2019.

Profit-taking was observed in the cement sector where heavyweights such as DG Khan Cement (-3.6%), Fauji Cement (-3.1%), Maple Leaf Cement (-2.6%) and Lucky Cement (-1.2%) were the major losers.

Mixed sentiment were witnessed in the banking sector as Allied Bank (+4.4%), HBL (+2.2%) and Bank Al Falah (+1.8%) closed in the green, however, UBL (-1.8%), MCB (-2.4%) and the Bank of Punjab (-1.6%) closed in the red region.

“Moving ahead, we expect market to remain volatile due to geo-political tension. We recommend investors to stay cautious at current levels,” the analyst said.

Overall, trading volumes increased to 146.5 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 128.8 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs5.1 billion.

Shares of 342 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 122 stocks closed higher, 202 declined and 18 remained unchanged.

Maple Leaf Cement was the volume leader with 17.2 million shares, losing Rs0.47 to close at Rs17.73. It was followed by WorldCall Telecom with 12.9 million shares, gaining Rs0.01 to close at Rs0.86 and Lotte Chemical with 10.4 million shares, losing Rs0.76 to close at Rs15.01.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs92.2 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.