KARACHI: Stocks maintained some semblance of strength as the KSE-100 index pulled itself up by 95.52 points (0.24 per cent) and closed at 40,164.

But almost all of the gains came in the last 45 minutes with trading interest at a low ebb representing smaller participation throughout the day. A tiny sum of Rs526 million was added to the market capitalisation. The index moved between the intra-day high and low by 152 and 326 points.

Investors’ interest remained on the political situation as the opposition’s alliance of 11 parties -- the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) -- was all set to stage its first rally in Gujranwala’s Jinnah stadium in the evening.

No one expected the fall of Imran Khan government, but out of an abundance of caution, investors decided to book profits and remained on the sidelines to watch for developments. Moreover, the Financial Action Task Force decision due on the 22-23rd of this month restrained investors from taking fresh positions.

The only positive was the result season which saw corporates providing improved results. The financial results of the Habib Bank Ltd (HBL) which arrived mid-day were thought to be better-than-expected and gave reason for investors to accumulate shares of the financial sector at dips.

Cement sector also came under the spotlight in the last hour with investors showing interest in a couple of blue chips. Traded volumes declined 22pc over the previous day to 254.2m shares while the traded value fell 30pc to $47.6m.

Stocks that contributed significantly to the volumes included Unity Foods Ltd (UNITY), Kohinoor Spinning Mills Ltd, Hascol Petroleum Ltd, Fauji Fertiliser bin Qasim Ltd (FFBL) and Engro Polymer Chemicals Ltd, which formed 40pc of total volumes.

Foreign investors were major spoilers of the market with their sell-off worth $2.24m. Scrips that contributed positively to the index included HBL, Meezan Bank Ltd, UNITY, FFBL, National Bank of Pakistan, Engro Fertiliser Ltd, D. G. Khan Cement Ltd and Nishat Millas Ltd. Major stocks that lost values were Millat Tractors Ltd, Pakistan Petroleum Ltd, Lucky Cement, Engro and Fauji Fertiliser Chemical Ltd.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2020