KARACHI: The stock market carried on the losing streak for sixth consecutive week as the KSE-100 index stood down by 643 points (1.7 per cent) to settle at 38,307, marking its lowest level in 48 trading sessions.
In the face of economic headwinds and subdued growth, market participants were disillusioned by the lack of progress on the IMF package. Although it was a relief to see some semblance of improvement in relationship with India following the productive talks on the Kartarpur corridor, temperatures appeared to be rising on the local political front as the government and opposition indulged in war of words.
In the first four trading sessions, foreigners were net sellers of equity worth $17.7 million, while they bought shares of $2.1m on the last day, producing net sales at $15.6m. Foreign sell-off was witnessed in exploration and production sector at $13.4m and cement $1.5m. On the local front, insurance companies and banks were net buyers of $7.8m and $4m, respectively.
Average traded volume remained subdued during the week at 93m shares, down 18pc over the previous week while the average daily traded value fell 21pc to $27m.
Refineries came under pressure after reports that the International Maritime Organisation will impose emission standards limiting marine sector to using furnace oil (FO) with sulphur content of less than 0.5pc from January 2020, thereby curbing the already weak demand for FO in the country.
Sector-wise, commercial banks were the worst performers, dragging the index down by 149 points, followed by cement shedding 120 points and oil and gas exploration companies 109 points. Refineries were also among the decliners. On the other hand, both textiles and fertilisers outperformed the index by 1.5pc. Scrip-wise, major laggards were Lucky Cement, down 68 points, MCB 50 points, Pakistan Oilfields 49 points; Habib Bank 48 points and OGDC 39 points.
Key news flow during the outgoing week included: Federal Board of Revenue enforcing the Benami Act, effective retrospectively from Feb 1, 2017; receipt of $1bn from UAE and failure to secure a $3.2bn deferred oil facility; hike in car prices by Indus Motors and Honda Cars following the imposition of 10pc Federal Excise Duty; State bank’s launch of the finance policy for low-cost housing and the announcement of 41pc hike in gas prices effective July 1.
Going forward, market gurus expect trading to remain range bound as investors watch out for progress on the much-awaited IMF bailout and the Financial Action Task Force proceedings. Moreover, key events in the upcoming week include visit of the Malaysian Prime Minister to Pakistan on March 23 and SBP monetary policy due at the end of the week.
Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2019