Stocks hit record high as PIA steps closer to privatisation

Published March 28, 2024
KARACHI: The benchmark KSE-100 index on Wednesday posted a 641-point rally to surpass its previous highest level of 66,427 points to close at 66,547.79.—Dawn/file
KARACHI: The benchmark KSE-100 index on Wednesday posted a 641-point rally to surpass its previous highest level of 66,427 points to close at 66,547.79.—Dawn/file

KARACHI: Strong inter­national interest following significant progress tow­ards privatisation of the national flag carrier and optimism about IMF in­flows early next month further boosted investor confidence triggering a fresh buying spree tossing the benchmark KSE 100-share index to an all-time high closing above 66,500 level.

Previously, the index did cross the pivotal level several times in recent weeks but could not sustain the gains above that level.

The approval of the 11-member board of directors of PIA Holding Company with former SBP governor Tariq Bajawa as its chairman by the federal cabinet on Tuesday was considered a major development which would speed up the privatisation of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

The cabinet also approved that the liabilities and assets of the loss-making national carrier would be transferred to the holding company, which would be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

Interestingly, the majority of the independent directors on the holding company’s board are the heads of commercial banks, including Bank Alfalah CEO Atif Aslam Bajwa and United Bank chief executive Shahzad Dada.

Separately, the aviation ministry confirmed that it had received investor interest in the PIA transaction from several countries including Germany, France, The Netherlands, Qatar, the UAE, Malaysia and Turkiye which also sparked enthusiasm among the local investors.

Ahsan Mehanti of Arif Habib Corporation said besides PIA privatisation, the rupee stability, PM commitments over CPEC second phase and expected foreign inflows also helped the market to scale a new closing peak.

Topline Securities Ltd said the market finally settled above the pivotal level as investors chose to further strengthen their equity position by buying blue-chip scrips across the board.

Resultantly, the power, bank & fertiliser sectors contributed positively to the index as Hub Power, Meezan Bank, United Bank, MCB Bank and Engro Corporation cumulatively added 319 points to the index.

On the other hand, Pakistan Petroleum, National Bank and Millat Tractors attracted some profit-taking wiping out 67 points.

As a result, the KSE-100 index closed at an all-time high of 66,547.79 points after staging a robust rally of 641.51 points or 0.97 per cent from the preceding session. Its previous all-time high closing was 66,427.78 points on Dec 12. 2023.

The overall trading volume rose further by 16.75pc to 354.59 million shares. The traded value, however, fell 1.60pc to Rs11.88bn on a day-on-day basis.

Stocks contributing significantly to the traded volume included Lotte Chemical (42.83m shares), Telecard Ltd (29.17m shares), Pakistan Tele­comm­unication Com­pany Ltd (24.70m shares), The Organic Meat Company Ltd (18.79m shares) and Hascol Petroleum Ltd (16.03m shares).

Shares registering the biggest increases in their share prices in absolute terms were Nestle Pakistan (Rs235.00), Shahmurad Sugar Mills Ltd (Rs31.38), Hallmark Company Ltd (Rs30.32), Pakistan Tobacco Company Ltd (Rs23.92) and Mari Petroleum Ltd (Rs11.64).

Companies registering the biggest decreases in their share prices in absolute terms were Rafhan Maize Products Company Ltd (Rs240.00), Sapphire Fibres Ltd (Rs106.50), Unilever Foods (Rs100.00), Hoechst Pakistan (Rs93.87) and Sapphire Textile (Rs84.05).

Foreign investors continued picking shares as their next purchase worth $0.33m.

Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2024

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