Stocks close flat amid range-bound trading

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.

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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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