Stocks bounce back in noisy week

Web Desk – November 03, 2019

KARACHI: After closing two weeks in red, stocks rebounded in the outgoing week with the KSE-100 index up 720 points (2.14 per cent) to close above the 34,000 level at 34,378 points.

Positive sentiments were triggered following the decline in yields on fixed investment securities. During the week, the Pakistan Investment Bond (PIBs) yields stood reduced in the range of 90-115 basis points. The week kicked off on cautious note as investors were worried over the political uncertainty stirred up by the Azadi March of opposition parties demanding the resignation of Prime Minister. Sentiments further dampened as traders went on a two-day strike across the country.

Cement stocks took the spotlight after government deferred axle load policy for a year along with a slight increase in prices in the northern region as per the data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. Leveraged cement stocks such as Maple Leaf Cement Factory, Cherat Cement Company, D. G. Khan Cement (DGKC) and Pioneer Cement gained in the range of 12pc to 24pc as investors anticipated an early rate cut following the declining trend of PIB yields.

Along the week, the sentiments were further buoyed since traders called off their strike as government agreed to their demands and the Federal Board of Revenue released impressive tax collection numbers for the month of October (up by 16pc year-on-year to Rs320 billion).

Investor decisions were also guided by the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) ongoing review of the country’s quarterly performance. In this regard, the government requested the team to relax the annual Rs5.5 trillion tax target by Rs300bn on the basis of a greater-than-expected economic slowdown.

Moreover, Adviser to PM on Finance Dr. Hafeez Sheikh approved a flat power tariff of Rs11.97/kWh for four months starting first day of November.

Foreign investors sold stocks worth $3.13 million during the week compared to net buy of $2.78m in the preceding week. Major outflow was witnessed in exploration and production at $2.06m and textile $1.34m. On the local front, buying was reported by companies at $5m followed by mutual funds $2.79m. Insurance companies were net sellers of stocks worth $2.19m.

Going forward, the market is expected to remain hostage to the government-opposition confrontation and its peaceful conclusion. However, traders and analysts said that improving macroeconomic position could help take the market forward, particularly the increase in foreign net inflows in Treasury-bills ($441m in fiscal year-to-date), and stability or further decline in fixed income yields.

It could give way to interest rate cut by the State Bank of Pakistan in the upcoming monetary policy. Moreover, markets were confident of a successful first quarter review with IMF team which would lead towards disbursement of second tranche of $455m.

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