KARACHI: Trading in the outgoing week kicked off on a negative note owing to political chaos owing to the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly over the weekend.

Arif Habib Ltd said uncertainty persisted throughout the outgoing week as resignations of the members of the opposition party were accepted by the National Assembly speaker.

On the economic front, data of remittances released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) depicted a decline of 19 per cent on a year-on-year basis in December 2022. However, one positive development during the week was the slight jump in the SBP’s reserves, which were up $258 million on a weekly basis to $4.6 billion.

Moreover, the rupee depreciated 0.66 per cent on a week-on-week basis against the dollar to close at 229.67.

As a result, the index closed at 38,408 points after shedding 1,915 points or 4.8pc from a week ago.

Sector-wise, negative contributions came from commercial banking (356.5 points), cement (287.7 points), oil and gas exploration (224.9 points), fertiliser (166.5 points) and technology (163.9 points).

The sector that contributed positively to the index was real estate investment trust (0.6 points).

Scrip-wise, negative contributors were Lucky Cement Ltd (133.3 points), Engro Corporation Ltd (103.9 points), Pakistan State Oil Company Ltd (92.3 points), Mari Petroleum Company Ltd (80 points) and Bank Al Habib Ltd (77.9 points).

According to AKD Securities Ltd, the trajectory of the stock market is going to be determined by the interest rate decision by the Monetary Policy Committee of the SBP on Jan 23. The market is expecting an increase of 100 basis points, it added.

“We believe that the market has already priced in the 100bps hike… the external position of the country would remain in focus,” it added.

It told investors to pay attention to companies that have dollar-denominated revenue streams as the weakness in the currency is expected to stay.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2023

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