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Political turmoil keep pushing PSX downward

KARACHI: Politics continued to dominate investor sentiments as the stock market reverted to its downward trajectory on Monday whereas volumes remained thin.

The session began on a negative note with the KSE-100 index falling 236 points in early trade. However, it recovered slightly and recorded range-bound trading.

Later, the index dipped further to touch an intra-day low of 41,004.66 points. Despite a brief recovery afterwards, it ended the day in the red.

At close, the benchmark index recorded a fall of 212.60 points or 0.51% to settle at 41,099.99 points.

Elixir Securities, in its report, stated Pakistan equities closed lower in range-bound trading and on lacklustre volumes as latest noise on domestic politics triggered profit-taking.

“The market opened on a weaker note and the index traded in a narrow range in the red territory for most part of the day and recorded a drop in the final hour to close down half a per cent above 41,100,” stated Elixir.

The arrest of former PM’s son-in-law last night and appearance of his daughter, Maryam, before the accountability court on corruption references on Monday mainly dented sentiments and resultantly kept most participants at bay.

Institutional interest both from locals and foreigners was highly selective to a few index names that included Engro Fertilizers (-0.9%), Habib Bank (+0.8%), Pakistan State Oil (+0.3%) and MCB Bank (+0.2%) with these names seeing crosses either on system or off-market.

On the other hand, retail investors too traded cautiously with most small and mid-cap names seeing a red close.

“(We) expect volatile and range-bound trading in the near term with politics continuing to dictate investors’ sentiments and flows guiding market’s direction,” the report added.

JS Global analyst Maaz Mulla said bears dominated the bourse on the back of political uncertainty and as a result the benchmark KSE-100 index lost 212 points to close at 41,100.

Azgard Nine (+3.21%) led the volume charts with 16 million shares changing hands. Mari Petroleum (-4.58%), Attock Refinery (-5%), Lucky Cement (-1.37%), Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (-3.70%) and National Refinery (-1.79%) were among major laggards that dragged the index down by a cumulative 96 points.

Selling pressure was witnessed in the cement sector where most heavyweights such as Maple Leaf Cement (-1.63%), DG Khan Cement (-1.60%), Fauji Cement (-2.39%) and Pioneer Cement (-2.41%) closed down.

Profit-taking to some extent was seen in the fertiliser sector where Engro Fertilizers (-0.92%), Fauji Fertilizer Company (-1.85%) and Fatima Fertilizer (-2.67%) lost value to close negative.

“Moving forward, we believe negativity may continue in the market on the back of political uncertainties and concerning economic indicators. We recommend investors to remain cautious,” Mulla said.

Overall, trading volumes fell to 123 million shares compared with Friday’s tally of 147 million.

Shares of 383 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 92 stocks closed higher, 272 declined while 19 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs6.1 billion.

Azgard Nine was the volume leader with 16.3 million shares, gaining Rs0.40 to close at Rs12.86. It was followed by Chakwal Spinning with 12.1 million shares, losing Rs1 to close at Rs8.92 and TRG Pakistan with 8.1 million shares, losing Rs1.33 to close at Rs34.53.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs366 million during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.