Stocks decline amid further delays in IMF programme

Our Correspondent
Thursday, Mar 30, 2023

Stocks closed lower on Wednesday as investors remained cautious on account of delays in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme and political uncertainty, traders said.

Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) benchmark KSE 100-share Index closed slightly lower by 202.48 points or 0.51 percent to end at 39,879.89 points against 40,082.37 points recorded in the last session. Intraday high was 40,187.61 points, while intraday low was 39,868.99 points.

Analyst Ahsan Mehanti at Arif Habib Corp said, “Stocks fell sharply lower on PM concerns for IMF condition to fulfil external commitments before the release of bailout funds.”

Political uncertainty, concerns for pending circular debt crises impacting oil sector financials and falling rupee played a catalytic role in the bearish close, he added.

KSE-30 index also decreased by 55.94 points or 0.38 percent to stand at 14,771.36 points compared with 14,827.30 points recorded in the last session.

Traded shares rose by 21 million to 108.795 million shares from 87.215 million shares, while the value decreased to Rs3.212 billion from Rs3.312 billion. Market capital narrowed to Rs6.094 trillion from Rs6.137 trillion. Out of 303 companies active in the session, 72 closed in green, 194 in red, while 37 remained unchanged.

Analyst Ali Najib at Topline Securities said another mixed day was witnessed at the PSX. After opening in the green zone, the index declined because of profit-taking, eventually settling at 39,380 (-203 points; down 0.50 percent) for the day.

During early trading hours, buying interest was seen in selected blue-chip stocks but the news regarding the issuance of an arrest warrant of the opposition leader dented the momentum, compelling the market to shed gains made in the early hours gain and ending on a negative note, he said.

During the day, PSEL, HBL, PPL, ENGRO and PAKT lost 118 points, cumulatively. On the flip side, MTL, EFERT and POL witnessed some buying interest as they added 54 points collectively.

The highest increase was recorded in the shares of Khyber Textile, up Rs25.79 to stand at Rs369.70/share, followed by Shield Corp, up Rs20.89 to stand at Rs304/share. A significant decline was noted in the shares of Unilever Foods, down Rs497.67 to close at Rs18,002.33/share, followed by Nestle Pakistan, downy Rs130.20 to close at Rs5,103.50/share.

Brokerage Arif Habib Ltd said the index opened in the red territory but traded in both directions, as investors still eye IMF to release the long overdue tranche. It reported that the participation remained sluggish in the main board as a cautious approach was adopted by players, which dried up volumes whereas 3rd tier stocks continued to lead the volume board.

Sectors contributing to the performance included commercial banks (-50.2 points), miscellaneous (-31.8 points), technology and communication (-22.6 points), E&P (-20.7 points), and tobacco (-16.5 points).

Telecard Limited remained the volume leader with 12.447 million shares, which closed lower by 25 paisas to stand at Rs7.90/share. It was followed by WorldCall Telecom with 9.398 million shares, which decreased by two paisas to end at Rs1.18/share.

Other significant turnover stocks included Pakistan Alumin, Pak Int Bulk, Nishat Mills Ltd, Shifa Int Hospital, Pak Elektron, Agha Steel Ind, Dewan Motors and Hascol Petrol.

Shares’ turnover in the future contracts dropped to 112.508 million shares from 210.983 million shares.