Pakistan Stock Exchange feels the heat of strong IMF conditions

Pakistan Stock Exchange feels the heat of strong IMF conditions

KARACHI - The KSE-100 index extended its losses on Friday and shed 171 points as investors were wary of the conditions in the new IMF loan programme.

Weak investor sentiments coupled with expectations of a tough IMF bailout pushed the market to trade below the 35,000-point level throughout the day. The bearish activity was also caused by economic uncertainty after the National Accounts Committee anticipated a sharp slowdown in economic growth to 3.3% in FY19 – the slowest pace in the past nine years.

Earlier, trading began with minor ups and downs, but selling pressure emerged shortly afterwards as investors offloaded stocks. During the session, the index lost a total of 240 points, but recovered slightly by the day’s end. Cement, oil marketing, refinery and exploration and production stocks mainly contributed to the selling pressure. On the other hand, automobile and financial stocks outperformed, driven up by speculations in the pre-budget session.

Dismal data on gas production – which fell 5% – for April 2019, projections for a 6.5-7% fiscal deficit and expected tightening of interest rate played the role of catalysts in the bearish close of the market. At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded a decrease of 171.11 points, or 0.49%, to settle at 34,716.53.

Volumes remained lacklustre as 39 million shares changed hands. K-Electric (+0.7%), Maple Leaf Cement (-3.5%) and The Searle Company (-5%) led the market volumes with cumulative trading in 9.5 million shares. Market watch: KSE-100 sheds 596 points as investors brace for tough IMF bailout Engro (-1.1%), Pakistan Petroleum (-1%), The Searle Company (-5%), Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC, -0.6%) and DG Khan Cement (-2.8%) were among major laggards. On the news front, the federal government officially confirmed the appointment of Shabbar Zaidi as the new Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman.

The cement sector led the decline where Maple Leaf Cement (-3.5%), DG Khan Cement (-2.8%), Kohat Cement (-2.5%), Pioneer Cement (-1.8%) and Fauji Cement (-1.9%) remained in the red zone.

Selling pressure was also witnessed in the exploration and production stocks among which Pakistan Petroleum (-1%), OGDC (-0.6%) and Pakistan Oilfields (-2.3%) stood lower despite an increase in crude oil prices in the international market.

Overall, trading volumes decreased to 39.3 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 78.1 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs1.75 billion. Shares of 288 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 77 stocks closed higher, 189 declined and 22 remained unchanged.

K-Electric was the volume leader with 4.8 million shares, gaining Rs0.03 to close at Rs4.22. It was followed by Maple Leaf Cement with 2.7 million shares, losing Rs0.89 to close at Rs24.29 and The Searle Company with 1.9 million shares, losing Rs7.44 to close at Rs141.39.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs126.1 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.