Stocks succumb to selling pressure

Published March 27, 2021
Cements, steel, fertilisers and banking stocks came under pressure. – AFP/File
Cements, steel, fertilisers and banking stocks came under pressure. – AFP/File

KARACHI: The three-day gaining streak at the stock market snapped on Friday — the last trading day of the rollover week — when the KSE-100 index made an initial false start to extend the earlier day’s gains by 31 points. However, the index soon succumbed to selling pressure.

Cements, steel, fertilisers and banking stocks came under pressure. The index hit an intra-day low by 289 points, but clawed back a bit to show a loss of 205 points or 0.45 per cent and closed at 45,522.

The jitters of the smooth settlement of rollover positions kept investors cautious. The increase in Covid-19 cases, which on Thursday reached 4,368 (the highest number of cases recorded in a single day after June 21, 2020), raised concerns among investors regarding another round of lockdowns and closure of businesses and industries.

Further, it was confirmed that the proposed amendment to the Income Tax Ordinance dealing with withdrawal of tax exemptions as a condition for the revival of IMF’s 39-month EFF arrangement for $6 billion signed on July 3, 2019, brought bad tidings – mainly for cyclicals all of which saw huge sell-off. In cements, Cherat, DG Khan, Fauji and Maple Leaf lost values. Banks were also down, with laggards including HBL, UBL, BAFL and BAHL.

Waiting for the new refinery policy, shares in the Refinery sector continued their ascent. Attock Refinery hit the upper circuit while Pakistan Refinery, Byco and National Refinery scrips also saw a substantial price rise.

Foreign investor, banks and mutual funds were major sellers while brokers proprietary trading and individuals took fresh positions. Traded volumes increased 12pc over the previous day in the ready market to 529.2 million shares while traded value declined 3pc to Rs25.2bn. Stocks that contributed significantly to the volumes included BYCO, PRL, PTC, UNITY and TRG, which formed 47pc of total volumes. Stocks that dragged down the index included ANL, ATRL, MEBL, HMB and Indus Motors.

Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2021

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