KARACHI: Stocks continued their upward movement on Wednesday as the buying momentum continued in the cement sector.

Topline Securities said the sustained interest in the cement sector was on the back of the second buyback announcement of more than Rs10 billion by Lucky Cement Ltd, which is the country’s largest cement player, a day ago.

Arif Habib Ltd said another catalyst was the latest data on the trade deficit, which shrank 39.62 per cent year-on-year to $23.7bn in the first 10 months of 2022-23. Investors’ engagement increased considerably as mainboard volumes rose with banking and cement sectors acting as trendsetters.

As a result, the KSE-100 index settled at 42,087.93 points, up 160.29 points or 0.38pc from the preceding session.

The overall trading volume increased 31.7pc to 289.8 million shares. The traded value went up 56.7pc to $35.9m on a day-on-day basis.

Stocks contributing significantly to the traded volume included WorldCall Telecom Ltd (55.3m shares), Habib Bank Ltd (23.5m shares), Maple Leaf Cement Factory Ltd (16.4m shares), TPL Properties Ltd (14.1m shares) and Fauji Foods Ltd (10.2m shares).

Sectors contributing the most to the index performance were cement (139.5 points), paper and board (21.8 points), exploration and production (17.5 points), food and personal care products (11.9 points) and oil marketing companies (9.7 points).

Companies registering the biggest increases in their share prices in absolute terms were Unilever Pakistan Foods Ltd (Rs1,540), Bhanero Textile Mills Ltd (Rs69.04), Bata Pakistan Ltd (Rs38.78), Khyber Tobacco Company Ltd (Rs31.45) and Lucky Cement Ltd (Rs27.05).

Companies that recorded the biggest declines in their share prices in absolute terms were Sapphire Textile Mills Ltd (Rs74.06), Sapp­hire Fibres Ltd (Rs50), Gatron Industries Ltd (Rs24.25), Dawood Lawr­enc­epur Ltd (Rs17.45) and JS Global Capital Ltd (Rs15.44).

Foreign investors were net buyers as they purchased shares worth $3.43m.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2023

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