KARACHI, Jan 23: Stocks ended higher on Wednesday as investors cherry picked shares in which they expected healthy profits for December end profits, however profit booking was witnessed as the index got closer to 17,000 points, dealers said.

The KSE 100-share index ended 0.09 per cent, or 14.58 points, higher at 16,908.67 points. It traded in a very narrow range as it made an intra-day high and low at 16,949.14 and 16,869.43, respectively.

Turnover increased to 217.69 million shares, compared with 184.13m shares traded on Tuesday but trading value fell to Rs5.49 billion from Rs6.29bn in the previous trading session. Market capitalisation was flat at Rs4.22 trillion, unchanged from Monday’s Rs4.22tr.

“While the benchmark along with various frontline stocks traded in a narrow band, speculative activity mainly on technical signals in Engro kept the intra-day traders active through the session thus allowing the stock to top the volume leaders list from amongst the frontline stocks category,” said Hasnain Asghar Ali from Escorts Capital.

Heavyweight Oil and Gas Development Co also helped the market close in the positive territory as it rose Rs1.28 to Rs190.24.

However profit-taking was witnessed in Pakistan Oilfields as it shed Rs2.67 to Rs449.24 and Pakistan Petroleum Ltd ended 49 paisa lower at Rs178.48.

“Mid cap cement stocks like FCCL (Fauji Cement) and MLCF (Maple Leaf Cement) remained in the limelight ahead of their Dec results. FFC (Fauji Fertiliser) came down after its result announcement as few investors were expecting bonus issue also,” said Samar Iqbal, a dealer at Topline Securities Ltd.

Fauji Fertiliser ended Rs1.77 lower at Rs118.59. The company reported a seven per cent year-on-year decline in its profit after tax to Rs20.84bn translating into an EPS of Rs16.38, compared with a PAT of Rs22.49bn and EPS of Rs17.68 recorded in last year.

According to Summit Capital massively higher cost of sales, substantial increase in distribution cost, huge upsurge in financial cost, and hefty drop in other income were the key factors which impacted the earnings negatively. The company also announced a final cash dividend of Rs5 per share taking full year dividend to Rs15.50 per share.

Foreign investors also continued their fresh buying on Wednesday as they bought shares worth a net $458,550 after buying a net $1.20 million on Tuesday, bringing the total for this month at $6.54m.

Individuals were the major sellers with equity worth $5.06m.

The biggest gainer was Nestle Pakistan which ended Rs176.25 higher at Rs4,776.25, followed by Unilever Pakistan Ltd which closed Rs49.99 higher at Rs9.949.99. Colgate Palmolive witnessed the biggest loss as it shed Rs74.75 to Rs1,424 followed by Biafo Industries, which ended Rs4 lower at Rs81.

The KSE-30 index ended 0.13pc, or 17.77 points, higher at 13,806.38.

Out of the 346 companies traded, the value of 177 increased, 148 decreased while 21 remained unchanged.

The second and third tier companies dominated the 10 most active traded stocks: Fauji Cement topped the list as it ended 9 paisa higher at Rs7.48 on turnover of 35.12 million shares, Maple Leaf Cement gained 64 paisa to Rs16.86 on 28.10m shares and Jahangir Siddiqui Co Ltd rose 65 paisa to Rs16.34 on 21.16m shares.

TeleCard Ltd increased by 37 paisa to Rs2.8 on 14.02m shares, Engro Corp ended Rs1.83 higher at Rs90.37 on 11.24m shares and Pakistan Telecommunications Co Ltd rose 50 paisa to Rs17.36 on 8.58m shares.

Lafarge Pakistan ended 25 paisa higher at Rs5.30 on 7.16m shares, WorldCall Telecom gained 16 paisa to Rs2.48 on 6.62m shares and National Bank of Pakistan rose 4 paisa to Rs51.30 on 6.10m shares.

However, DG Khan Cement marginally fell 1 paisa to Rs53.79 on 5.33m shares.

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