Stocks stage 842-point comeback rally

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KARACHI: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) took a much needed breather on Friday, with the benchmark KSE-100 Index recovering some of the losses accumulated in the previous sessions.

Analysts believe regulatory measures adopted by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Pakistan Banks’ Association (PBA) with regard to margin on shares as collaterals, as well as relaxation in terms of classification of doubtful and bad debts on banks’ financial statements, helped boost the investors’ confidence.

“Resultantly, steel and cement stocks, which have the highest leverage among listed sectors, made a swift recovery,” said an analyst at Arif Habib Ltd. “Better performance in regional markets also helped kick-start rally at PSX.”

Meanwhile, among other developments, Pakistan’s liquid foreign exchange reserves declined by 3.40pc on a weekly basis and were recorded at $18,105 million (as on March 20). The reserves previously stood at $18,743 million (March 13).

Gaining 1,005.89 points, the KSE-100 Index stormed past the 28,000-mark to its intraday high at 28,273.09. It closed higher by 842.37 points at 28,109.57.

Among other indices, the KMI-30 Index appreciated 1,690.70 points to close at 43,055.24, while the KSE All Share Index gained 441.34 points, settling at 20,485.23. Out of the total traded shares, 198 advanced and 54 declined.

The overall market volumes fell from 186.70 million in the previous session to 169.39 million, with K-Electric Limited (KEL -1.45pc), Unity Foods Limited (UNITY +5.72pc) and Hascol Petroleum Limited (HASCOL -0.36pc) leading the volume chart. The scripts had exchanged 41.17 million, 11.26 million and 10.47 million shares, respectively.

Sectors that drove the KSE-100 Index north included fertilizer (+193.51 points), banking (+185.33 points) and cement sector (+126.00 points). Among the companies, Engro Corporation Limited (ENGRO +99.97 points), Hub Power Company Limited (HUBC +94.47 points) and MCB Bank Limited (MCB +78.25 points) added maximum points to the benchmark index.

After adding 6.00pc in its cumulative market capitalization, the cement sector finished as the top gainer of the day. Lucky Cement Limited (LUCK +6.79pc), D G Khan Cement Company Limited (DGKC +6.87pc), Maple Leaf Cement Factory Limited (MLCF +7.47pc) and Bestway Cement Limited (BWCL +4.92pc) all accumulated decent gains.

Moreover, in view of coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown-like situation in the country, Gul Ahmed Textile Mills Limited (GATM +4.16pc), Honda Atlas Cars [Pakistan] Ltd (HCAR -1.99pc), Berger Paints Pakistan Ltd (BERG +7.50pc), Indus Motor Company Ltd (INDU+0.51pc) have announced a temporary closure of their operations.

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