KARACHI: Stocks remained lifeless for the second day in a row as the KSE-100 index laboriously moved between the intraday high and low of 114 and 38 points. The closing was again flat with the index shifting upwards by a nominal 11 points to 47,491.

The mounting fear over the increase in Covid cases prompted the Sindh government to initiate a host of measures effective July 15 including closure of indoor dining and cinemas, beaches, inland tourist resorts as well as schools from Class 1-8, all of which was a major dampener on investor sentiments.

The news of killing of 12 people including nine Chinese engineers in a road accident made matters worse as investors started to ditch stocks. As the situation worsens in Afghanistan, the market expects the fallout.

In a market-related move anticipatory profit-taking was seen as the settlement of Capital Gains Tax liability was due by July 16. While corporate clients took it in their stride, small investors sold to prevent forced sale on settlement by the broker.

Moreover, the strengthening value of the rupee against the dollar; expensive coal (raw material for cement industry); result season round the corner and Eid holidays were all events that kept investors on the sidelines.

Foreign investors turned net buyers on Tuesday with an inflow of $4.12m.

Heavy profit takers were companies, broker proprietary trading and individuals.

Sector-wise, major addition to the index of 34 points was made by the textiles where NML, NCL, GATM and GADT were the gainers.

Analysts at Arif Habib Ltd said that large cap blue chip stocks (including Engro Corp, POL, Lucky Cement, Systems Ltd) kept the index balanced, which was otherwise under selling pressure in E&P, O&GMCs, cement, steel and technology sectors. Stocks that contributed positively to the index included PSX (19 points), Lucky Cement (12 points), PIBTL (12 points), INDU (12 points) and NML (11 points).

Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2021

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