Stocks close flat amid range-bound trading

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KARACHI: Stocks were caught in a whirlwind activity on Thursday, as the indices traded within a narrow range throughout the session before ending flat.

Foreign investors continued to offload equities on Wednesday, recording a net outflow of $0.375 million; major selling witnessed in cement sector ($0.623 million).

The benchmark KSE-100 Index recorded its intraday low at 41,548.04 after shedding 350.66 points. The index then swayed in both directions, reaching its intraday high at 41,982.70 (+84.00 points). It closed flat (+4.81 points) at 41,903.51.

Among other indices, the KMI-30 Index gained 156.47 points to settle at 67,679.00, while the KSE All Share Index lost 11.82 points, ending at 29,123.53.

The overall market volumes shrunk from 197.01 million in the previous session to 162.24 million. The Bank of Punjab (BOP +1.74pc), Avanceon Limited (AVN +5.48pc) and Unity Foods Limited (UNITY -0.57pc) remained the top picks of the day, exchanging 17.97 million, 15.94 million and 10.04 million shares, respectively.

Sectors that drove the KSE-100 Index south included oil & gas exploration (-51.80 points), banking (-43.75 points) and power generation & distribution (-26.33 points). On the other hand, investment banking (+54.33 points), cement (+36.57 points) and fertilizer (+21.57 points) sectors worked hard to keep the index in the green zone.

Meanwhile, in a notification to the exchange, Akzo Nobel Pakistan Limited (AKZO +4.76pc) stated that its majority shareholder, ICI Omicron BV, has proposed to purchase 24.19pc of the paid-up share capital at Rs194.47 per share.

On the financial side, Lucky Cement Limited (LUCK +2.37pc) posted a pre-tax profit of Rs1.18 billion for the second quarter of FY20 (Rs3.63 billion in 2QFY19). On a quarterly basis, the company’s sales saw an increase of 20pc to Rs11.58 billion while its earnings per share increased up by 2.36pc.

Also, Fauji Fertilizer Company Limited (FFC -0.04pc) declared financial performance for FY19. The company’s gross profit improved by 9.86pc, while other income surged by 14pc, leading its EPS to rise from Rs11.35 to Rs13.45.

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