Stocks close in red ahead of FATF decision

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KARACHI: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) witnessed another range-bound trading session on Thursday, as the investors remained cautious ahead of the Financial Action Task Force’s decision.

Foreign investors were net sellers on Wednesday, with a net outflow of $4.99 million. Oil & gas marketing ($2.22 million), banking ($1.22 million) and cement ($1.08 million) sectors took the major hit.

According to latest data published by State Bank of Pakistan, the country’s current account deficit declined by 72pc in the first seven months of current fiscal year. The deficit was recorded at $2.65 billion during the period under review as compared to $9.47 billion last year. Imports of goods fell by 20pc to $26.08 billion while exports improved by mere 2.2pc to Rs14.44 billion.

Gaining 122.53 points, the benchmark KSE-100 Index touched its intraday high at 40,697.05 during initial hours. However, the index embarked a jittery ride thereon, sliding to its intraday low at 40,445.78 after shedding 128.74 points. It finally settled lower by 92.87 points at 40,481.65.

Among other indices, the KMI-30 Index lost 321.16 points to end at 64,095.02, while the KSE All Share Index fell short by 45.83 points, closing at 28,018.02. Out of the total traded shares, 119 advanced and 166 declined.

Sectors that drove the index south included oil & gas exploration (-40.03 points), oil & gas marketing (-25.62 points) and cement (-25.41 points). Among the companies, Habib Bank Limited (HBL -45.07 points), Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDC -17.35 points) and MCB Bank Limited (MCB -14.51 points) dented the index the most.

The overall market volumes fell from 142.96 million in the last session to 111.99 million. Hascol Petroleum Limited (HASCOL -2.85pc) led the volume chart, followed by The Bank of Punjab (BOP +2.16pc) and DG Khan Cement Company Limited (DGKC -1.68pc). The scrips had exchanged 8.76 million, 8.66 million shares and 8.13 million shares, respectively.

On the market front, Bestway Cement Limited (BWCL -6.18pc) declared its financial performance for the second quarter of FY20. The company’s gross profit margin declined from 33.5pc to 5.90pc in 2QFY20, whereas its cost of sales-to-sales ratio increased from 66pc to 94pc. The company’s earnings per share declined from Rs7.75 to Rs0.20.

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