KARACHI: It was the same old story at the stock market on Thursday with low overall volumes, choppy trade and the index settling close to the previous level after oscillating wildly between the intra-day high and low by 230 and 83 points respectively. The KSE-100 ended the session flat with uptick of 26 points (0.06 per cent) at 40,540.70

Day traders and speculators were active in second-tier scrips while long-term value investors generally thought discretion to be better part of valour. They went for selective buying mainly in the banking sector, technology and some stray stocks on the cement sector.

With too many ‘uncertainties’, investors avoided going long and preferred to take profit on overbought shares.

There was a long list of uncertainties ahead to dampen investor sentiments. The massive rise in Covid-19 cases globally cut a poor picture of the world economy and its repercussions on the country’s already fragile financial health.

After some early morning encouragement, investors put aside reports of the country having recorded current account surplus in October as well. Investors were worried over the finalisation of International Monetary Fund review ahead, the State Bank of Pakistan monetary policy to be unveiled on Monday next, the rollover week ahead and above all the planned rallies of the opposition in several major cities, in defiance of government instructions.

Traded value of stocks stood at $50 million as against $39.1m. Stocks that contributed significantly to the volumes included TRG Pakistan, Unity Foods Ltd, Faysal Bank Ltd, Aisha Steel Ltd and NetSol Technologies Ltd, which formed 37pc of total volumes.

In the banking sector, Habib Bank Ltd and United Bank Ltd contributed positively but the benefit was neutralised by set-back in the Oil and Gas Development Company and Pakistan Petroleum Ltd as international oil prices remained range bound. Cements and technology sectors saw cherry picking.

Scrip-wise, in cements, Lucky, Maple Leaf and Pioneer helped lift the index up. Netsol, TRG and Avanceon went strong on the technology sector.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2020