KARACHI: The stock market snapped its four-day winning streak as investors resorted to profit-taking following reports that the new government has begun preparations to engage the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the start of final review under the current $3bn Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) and negotiating a fresh Extended Fund Facility.

The country is faced with numerous economic issues mainly the balance of payments and the new government is also well aware of implementation challenges of new conditions associated with the release of the last tranche of $1.1bn under the SBA.

The IMF has proposed liberal imports, a doubling of taxes for both salaried and non-salaried individuals to the Federal Board of Revenue. Additionally, it recommends raising the general sales tax rate to 18pc for various essential items such as unprocessed food, stationery, medicines and POL products.

Ahsan Mehanti of Arif Habib Corporation said the market came under renewed selling pressure due to dismal data on cement and oil sales falling by 19pc and 8pc, respectively, in February.

Topline Securities Ltd said throughout the session, the benchmark KSE 100-share index demonstrated a mixed trajectory, reaching highs of 66,135 and lows of 65,500.

The downturn in the index was primarily driven by Oil and Gas Development Company Ltd, Pakistan Petroleum Ltd, Mari Petroleum Ltd, PSO and Millat Tractors Ltd, collectively wiping out 228 points from the index.

On the flip side, Dawood Hercules Corporation Ltd, Attock Refinery Ltd and TRG Pakistan provided a counterbalance by adding 96 points to the index.

As a result, the KSE-100 index closed at 65,726.04 points after losing 225.68 points or 0.34 per cent from the preceding session.

The overall trading volume fell 16.12pc to 396.59 million shares. The traded value, however, slightly rose 1.90pc to Rs16.59bn on a day-on-day basis.

Stocks contributing significantly to the traded volume included Kohinoor Spinning Mills Ltd (39.72m shares), Pakistan Refinery Ltd Ltd (34.04m shares), Pakistan Telecommuni­cations Company Ltd (24.85m shares), Cnergyico PK Ltd (23.11m shares) and K-Electric (22.57m shares).

Shares registering the biggest increases in their share prices in absolute terms were Rafhan Maize Products Company Ltd (Rs252.16), Sazgar Engineering Works Ltd (Rs26.45), National Refinery Ltd (Rs18.51), Attock Refinery Ltd (Rs16.70) and Faisal Spinning Mills Ltd (Rs10.99).

Companies registering the biggest decreases in their share prices in absolute terms were Unilever Foods Ltd (Rs700.00), Nestle Pakistan Ltd (Rs192.50), Mari Petroleum Ltd (Rs45.27), Pakistan Tobacco Company Ltd (Rs39.95) and Mehmood Textile Mills Ltd (Rs16.00).

Foreign investors net purchases of shares stood at $0.05m.

Published in Dawn, March 6th, 2024

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