KARACHI: The stock market ended Tuesday’s trading almost flat, repeating the performance seen in recent days mainly as investors continued to focus on major negatives and the roll-over week. The KSE-100 index crawled up by 14 points or 0.03pc to settle at 47,687. Investors continued to anticipate the move by the State Bank of Pakistan in the Monetary Policy Statement later in the day. Few voted against a status quo in policy rate as economists felt that the inflation concerns would be overshadowed by the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic which was already causing devastation.

The strict restrictions imposed by the Sindh government, including curbs on business timings, were feared to lead to curtailment in industrial activity and job losses if the pandemic continues to spread. The country reported the highest Covid-19 positivity since July 1, 2021, at 3,752 cases with a positivity ratio of 7.5pc. The positivity ratio in the business hub Karachi had climbed to as high as 20pc. Under the circumstances, market participants including institutions were unwilling to go long. The index rose to intra-day high by 237 points early in the day, but it was followed by profit-taking that saw the index sink to intra-day low by 56 points.

Pakistan Tobacco was the harbinger of results season announcing 1H2021 earning per share (EPS) at Rs37 (up 24 per cent YoY) accompanied by a cash dividend of Rs26 per share and bonus share at 15pc. Century Paper and Board also announced its FY21 EPS at Rs16.78 (up 94pc YoY) along with a cash dividend of Rs1.50 per share. At the market, the textile sector remained buoyant. KTML closed at its upper circuit while Gadoon and Nishat Mills also added values to their stock prices. Banking stocks gained in the lead of big banks – MCB, HBL and UBL. Technology sector on the other hand saw profit booking after an uptick in the past couple of sessions. Cements continued to be pummelled.

Volumes declined 4pc from the earlier day to 433m shares. WorldCall led the volumes with 37m shares changing hands.

Published in Dawn, July 28th , 2021

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