Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) endured choppy trading on Wednesday and marginally rose by 10 points as investors were concerned over rising cases of Covid-19 in the country.
Upbeat car sales data, which showed a surge of 90% in fiscal year 2020-21 compared to the previous year, failed to entice market players to maintain the buying momentum.
In addition to that, encouraging data of remittances, which climbed to an all-time high of $29.4 billion in FY21 and registered the fastest growth since FY03, had no significant effect on the benchmark KSE-100 index, which traded range bound for most of the session.
Earlier, the market opened with minor ups and downs, however, the two positive economic indicators helped the KSE-100 index rise around 114 points in early hours. Later, investor excitement died down and selling pressure emerged, which dragged the market down.
At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded an increase of 10.97 points, or 0.02%, to settle at 47,491.47.
Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that the market remained range bound, oscillating between -38 points and +114 points during the session.
Large-cap blue-chip stocks (including Engro, Pakistan Oilfields, Lucky Cement and Systems Limited) kept the index balanced, which otherwise faced selling pressure in exploration and production, oil and gas marketing, cement, steel and technology sectors.
A precarious security situation along the Afghanistan border and imposition of Covid-induced lockdown in Sindh forced investors to reconsider their portfolio positions, in addition to taking a look at capital gains tax (CGT) liability, which would be settled by July 16.
Sectors contributing to the performance included textile (+34 points), auto (+26 points), investment banks (+19 points), transport (+12 points), technology (-25 points), banks (-24 points) and fertiliser (-20 points).
Individually, stocks that contributed positively to the index included Pakistan Stock Exchange (+19 points), Lucky Cement (+12 points), Pakistan International Bulk Terminal (+12 points), Indus Motor Company (+12 points) and Nishat Mills (+11 points).
Stocks that contributed negatively were TRG Pakistan (-33 points), MCB (-28 points), Engro Fertilisers (-17 points), Mari Petroleum (-10 points) and Fauji Fertiliser (-8 points).
JS Global analyst Muhammad Mubashir said that rising Covid cases and lack of positive triggers resulted in a range-bound activity where market participants preferred to book profit on the higher side.
The bourse traded between a high and low of 47,595 and 47,442 points respectively.
Textile sector was in the limelight where Nishat Mills (+3%) and Gul Ahmed Textile Mills (+4.7%) closed higher while Nishat Chunian (+7.5%) hit its upper circuit.
On the economic front, the large-scale manufacturing (LSM) output increased by 14.57% during 11MFY21.
Moreover, banking deposits recorded the highest growth in 14 years to reach Rs19.8 trillion as of June 2021. Meanwhile, car sales jumped 57% to 151,182 units during FY21.
“Moving forward, we expect range-bound activity to continue before Eid holidays and recommend investors to avail any downside as an opportunity to buy in cement and textile sectors,” he said.
Overall trading volumes rose to 508.3 million shares compared with Tuesday’s tally of 496.8 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs16 billion.
Shares of 435 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 172 stocks closed higher, 243 declined and 20 remained unchanged.
WorldCall Telecom was the volume leader with 44.7 million shares, losing Rs0.1 to close at Rs3.42. It was followed by Ghani Global Glass with 44.1 million shares, gaining Rs1.38 to close at Rs29.82 and TPL Corp with 40.8 million shares, gaining Rs1.07 to close at Rs23.79.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs654.6 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.