KARACHI: Amid persisting optimism on the economic and privatisation front, the stock market on Thursday turned in another stellar performance propelling the benchmark KSE 100-share index to a record closing above 67,000 level.

Ahsan Mehanti of Arif Habib Corporation said the key positive development that triggered an across-the-board buying spree was FTSE Russell’s maintaining of Pakistan equity’s secondary emerging markets status, which is likely to attract passive stock funds foreign inflows amid stable government.

However, the leading global index provider in its statement said Pakistan would remain on the Watch List for potential demotion from secondary emerging to frontier market status.

It says over the last few years, Pakistan has experienced a steady decrease in its index weight within FTSE Russell global benchmarks. This has resulted in the market failing to meet the minimum investable market capitalisation exit level threshold required to retain a secondary emerging market status.

“If Pakistan fails the minimum investable market capitalisation and securities count exit level thresholds, based on data as of the close on June 28, then subject to final ratification by the FTSE Russell Index Governance Board, Pakistan will be demoted from secondary emerging to frontier market status,” the statement added.

This action will be taken in conjunction with the September index reviews that are effective from the open on Sept 23, 2024. FTSE Russell will provide an update on the Watch List status of Pakistan at the beginning of July this year, it concluded.

Mr Mehanti said the progress on privatisation of loss-making state-owned enterprises (SOEs) amid approval of Pakistan International Airlines’ Rs268bn debt restructuring to public debt and rupee stability also contributed to the bull run on the PSX.

Topline Securities Ltd said the market optimism was buoyed by the Special Investment Facilitation Council’s (SIFC) reform agenda, alongside anticipation for a forthcoming IMF programme, fostering a favourable market outlook.

The SIFC remained steadfast in its commitment to reform, notably through the privatisation of PIA and other SOEs. A three-day meeting of the council with the newly appointed executive committee under the leadership of PM Sharif has been convened.

The brokerage said investors strategically augmented their equity portfolios by acquiring blue-chip stocks across diverse sectors. Notably, the power, banking, and fertiliser sectors positively influenced the index, with Bank AlHabib, Engro Corporation, MCB Bank, Pakistan Petroleum Ltd and Lucky Cement collectively contributing 208 points. On the flip side, profit-taking was observed in Systems Ltd, Allied Bank and Service Industries taking away 31 points from the index.

After hitting an intraday record high of 67,246.02 points, surpassing its previous high of 67,093.96 on Dec 13, 2023, the KSE-100 index closed at a fresh historic peak of 67,142.12 points after adding 594.34 points or 0.89 per cent from the preceding session.

The overall trading volume expanded by 18.75pc to 421.11 million shares. The traded value surged 35.96pc to Rs16.15bn on a day-on-day basis.

Stocks contributing significantly to the traded volume included Pakistan Telecomm­unication Company Ltd (55.71m shares), Lotte Chemical (27.22m shares), Telecard Ltd (25.54m shares), WorldCall Telecom Ltd (21.98m shares) and TPL Properties Ltd (14.81m shares).

Shares registering the biggest increases in their share prices in absolute terms were Rafhan Maize Products Company Ltd (Rs125.00), Bata Pakistan Ltd (Rs58.00), Shahmurad Sugar Mills Ltd (Rs35.57), Hallmark Company Ltd (Rs32.57) and Pakistan Engineering Company Ltd (Rs23.50).

Companies registering the biggest decreases in their share prices in absolute terms were Unilever Foods (Rs600.00), Nestle Pakistan Ltd (Rs34.67), Service Industries Ltd (Rs9.11), Khyber Tobacco Company Ltd (Rs5.48) and Tata Textile Mills Ltd (Rs4.02).

Foreign investors turned net sellers as they offloaded shares worth $0.93m.

Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2024

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