Stocks were in the green on Monday with the benchmark KSE-100 index climbing 585 points, buoyed up by cement stocks and an encouraging Financial Action Task Force (FATF) announcement on Friday, to close at 41,850 – up 1.4 per cent.
“The market optimism was primarily driven by the appreciation of cement and construction-related stocks,” said Head of Research at BMA Capital, Faizan Ahmed, while speaking to Dawn.
“Southern cement manufacturers’ decision to increase per bag prices by Rs10 coupled with the news on shortages in some cities have pushed up the prices of cement stocks.”
On the other hand, the largest player in the cement sector, Lucky Cement Ltd, reported a higher-than-expected jump in net profits during 1QFY21 at Rs5.13 billion compared to Rs1.5bn during the same period last year. The company’s net sales increased 66 per cent year-on-year (YoY) with cement sales rising 49pc on the back of higher dispatches.
The announcement put a spotlight on the overall sector amid rising demand for cement due to an increase in construction activities.
Autos and oil & gas marketing companies also gained in anticipation of stronger sales in October.
The Financial Action Task Force’s announcement on Friday, when it acknowledged steps taken by authorities against money laundering and terror financing, was also received well by investors who were jittery during the last week. The global anti-money laundering watchdog said Pakistan had successfully complied with 21 out of 27 points of action even as it urged authorities to “swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2021”.
“While the FATF's decision of keeping Pakistan on the 'grey list' was widely expected, the market cheered the formal acknowledgement of the progress made so far and the risk of blacklisting being largely over,” said Umer Farooq, analyst at AKD Securities.
Farooq also attributed today's rally to the earnings surprise posted by Lucky Cement Ltd, while “healthy payouts in the IPP space and earnings growth by companies in the pharmaceutical sector” further bolstered sentiment at the bourse, according to him.
Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, commenting on today's rally, among other things, tweeted:
“Rally in the stock market, appreciation of the rupee in currency markets, strong growth in industrial sectors like cement, automobiles, construction, fertiliser, textiles etc. point towards a positive economic sentiment in the country. Tax revenues are also rising and current account [is] in surplus.”