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Sluggish pre-Eid week for stocks

AS Eid ul Azha approached, the market had witnessed mixed trends last week.

Investors booked gains in the cement and banking sector stocks, the earnings of which had been announced, while accumulation of stocks in the energy and fertiliser sectors continued.

The KSE-100 index gained 19.97 points over the previous week, with turnover of 532 million shares. Average daily volume, however, was higher than the previous week.

The first trading day of the week saw the index reach a new high, however, with volumes more sparse than previously witnessed, given a shorter week and Eid holidays. The index gained over 55 points to reach 15,848.63 points.

Investors were seen more active in value scripts, with volume falling to 149 million shares compared to the previous trading day. Slight profit-taking was witnessed in the cement sector after bullish trends in the previous week, but losses were restricted by active buying in the energy sector.

Fauji Fertiliser posted a net profit of Rs13.8 billion (EPS:Rs10.84) which was in-line with market expectations, with an interim dividend of Rs2.50, but the stock still ended lower by Rs1.26. Foreign funds bought equity worth $554,670, while buying by individuals stood at $1.95 million.

Tuesday saw lacklustre market activity, with the index gaining slightly over five points. Volumes fell to 103.3 million shares from Monday. While the index had reached an intra-day high of over 15,900 points, profit-taking by investors brought the index much lower. The cement sector was fairly active, due to profit expectations from DG Khan Cement and Lucky Cement.

Foreign investors were net sellers of $9,711 worth of shares, while individuals led selling by $1.25 million. Lower leverage cost played a catalyst role in bullish sentiments despite concerns for circular debt issues in energy sector and uncertain global stocks and commodities.

Stocks gained another 11.69 points on Wednesday with trading volume surpassing 143 million shares. Trading picked up pace on the back of strong earnings, with investors booking profits in various shares and bargain hunters looked to accumulate stocks whose earnings were still expected.

DG Khan Cement, National Bank of Pakistan, and Bank Alfalah Limited had announced their earnings, which renewed buying interest in the banking sector, whereas fertiliser and energy stocks were also bought up by investors. Foreign investors were witnessed buying shares worth $6.99 million, whereas mutual funds were major sellers to the tune of $5.13 million.

The index lost 52.81 points on Thursday, the last trading day before Eid holidays, as traders and investors consolidated their positions and clinched gains booked over the week and avoided taking on new positions.

Volumes declined to 136 million, with 161 shares advanced, 158 booking a decline, and 51 remaining unchanged. Cement, fertiliser, and the banking sector led in terms of volumes, while the oil and gas sector ended largely in the red zone. PTCL volumes also stood high, only to be dwarfed by DG Khan Cement.

Overall, DG Khan Cement was the volume leader for the week, followed by Pace, Jahangir Siddiqui, PTCL, and KESC.