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KARACHI, July 20: Stocks were lightly down on Friday with the KSE-100 index adding a tiny loss of 3.72 points to 28 points conceded the earlier day. The index settled at 14,564.49 points.

The shares traded in close range with investors taking profit at inflated levels in some of the stocks. The tone was cautious as retail investors remained on the sidelines and institutional investors showed little penchant to trade ahead of the two-day weekly holiday and the next session on Monday to fall in the month of Ramazan, when volumes remain low.

Even on Friday the turnover slumped 42 per cent to 96 million shares, compared with 165 million shares traded the day earlier. However, foreign investors continued to display interest in Pakistan equity, represented in net purchases of $1.39 million worth stocks on Friday.

During the day, Standards & Poor’s (S&P) affirmed Pakistan 'B-' long term rating with stable outlook. Pakistan S/T Sovereign Credit rating was raised to B from C.

“Yet S&P’s affirmation of Pakistan long term rating did not have any major impact on share prices and the investors preferred to book gains before the weekend,” said Samar Iqbal, equity dealer, at Topline Securities.

“Negativity in the benchmark and in Engro and its group companies in particular due to financial crunch being reported by their fertiliser company, kept investors cautious, who went in for stock switching in fertiliser and banking stocks that enabled the index to find support around pivot, while other front liners failed to make to volume leaders list,” says Hasnain Asghar Ali, COO at Escorts Capital.

He stated that oil and gas exploration and production giant, OGDC added 88 paisa to the overnight value, which contributed several points to the index. The week starting Monday was thought to be important given the Judicial hearings.

The local equities were said to have underlying potential to trade with improved volumes and higher multiples, which restricted the local participants from panic selling despite recent downgrades by Moody’s.

The news flow on Friday was generally positive. According to the figures released by the State Bank of Pakistan, the country's liquid foreign exchange reserves rose by $30.7 million to $14.939 billion. Foreign exchange reserves were $14.908 billion, the previous week.

Also, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its recent report stated that Pakistan ranked seventh globally among countries that were receiving largest inflows of remittances; Pakistan received net remittance of $9.7 billion in 2010.

The KSE-30 index decreased by 4.26 points to 12,623.90 points. Trading value showed sharp fall of Rs1.412 billion on Friday to Rs3.155 billion, from Rs4.567 billion on Thursday, which was in line with decline in volume of shares traded.

Market capitalisation decreased by Rs3 billion to Rs3.717 trillion, from Rs3.720 trillion the day earlier.

A total of 184 stocks lost value on Friday, against 93 gainers and a larger number of 107 scrips finishing at their previous close.

Jah Sidd Co held on to its position of top volume leader with 14m shares down 92 paisa to Rs15.48. Other stocks with larger turnover included Azgard Nine down by 60 paisa to Rs6.58 on 6m shares, Askari Bank up by 90 paisa to Rs15.72 on 5m shares, KESC shed 5 paisa to Rs3.88 on 5m shares.

NBP fell by 68 paisa to Rs45.39 on 4m shares, JS Investments slipped by 86 paisa to Rs9.16 on 4m shares, Nishat Mills rose by 31 paisa to Rs52.55 on 3m shares, D.G. Khan Cement was down 19 paisa to Rs44.98 on 3m shares, UBL shot up by Rs3.10 to Rs91.17 on 3m shares and Bank Alfalah added 3 paisa to Rs18.08 on 3m shares.