PSX falls flat after range-bound session

KARACHI: Investors of the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) endured a volatile session on Thursday, with the indices moving both ways in search of clear direction before closing flat.

Global equity markets also showed a mixed performance, whereas crude oil prices slipped lower from the previous close; WTI crude price falling 0.80pc to $44.92 while Brent crude price dropping 0.70pc to $47.92.

“In contrast to this week’s trend, the stock market moved within a narrow range on Thursday, as investors seemed confused over the worsening coronavirus situation in the country,” a report issued by Arif Habib Ltd read. “Although cement and steel sectors saw cautious buying activity, selling pressure later in the day kept their movement in check.”

MARKET SUMMARY

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The benchmark KSE-100 Index started the day on a positive note, registering its intraday high at 42,412.51 (+385.13 points). However, it succumbed to selling pressure post afternoon, touching its day low at 42,009.30 (-18.08 points). The index finally settled higher by 20.34 points at 42,047.72.

Among other indices, the KMI-30 Index gained 172.83 points to close at 68,022.37, while the KSE All Share Index ended flat (+1.72 points) at 29,409.49.

The overall market volumes declined from 476.85 million shares in the previous session to 420.19 million shares (-12pc). Average traded value also dipped by 12pc, from $127.4 million to $112.5 million. TRG Pakistan Ltd (TRG -1.66pc), Maple Leaf Cement Factory Ltd (MLCF +1.00pc) and Aisha Steel Mills Ltd (ASL +5.75pc) topped the volume chart, exchanging 35.24 million shares, 30.97 million and 29.69 million shares, respectively.

Sectors that kept the benchmark index afloat included fertilizer (+17.27 points), cement (+12.99 points) and technology & communication (+12.33 points). Among the companies, Systems Ltd (SYS +26.55 pts), Lucky Cement Ltd (LUCK +17.42 points) and MCB Bank Ltd (MCB +15.31 points) remained the top contributors.

Adding 1.26pc to its cumulative market capitalization, the refinery sector ended as the session’s top performer, with Attock Refinery Ltd (ATRL 1.24pc), National Refinery Ltd (NRL 7.50pc) and Pakistan Refinery Ltd (PRL 0.05pc) posting decent gains.

Meanwhile, in a notification to the exchange, Agritech Ltd  (AGL -3.19pc) informed that the company’s urea plant has been shut down due to gas curtailment by the government for “winter load management”.

Also, Tri-Pack Films Ltd (TRIPF +3.69pc) announced that its Board of Directors has approved investment in a new Biaxially Oriented Poly Propylene (BOPP) film manufacturing line. “The project is estimated to cost Rs9 billion and will be financed with a mix of debt and internal cash generation with commercial production targeted in 2023.”

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