Pakistan stocks slip 1.5 percent

KARACHI: Pakistan stocks slipped 1.5 percent during the week ended November 24, 2017, which started off on a bearish note amid ongoing sit-in by religious parties, dampening investor’s sentiment. Consequently, lack of triggers during the week kept investors at bay, dealers said.

Faizan Ahmed at JS Global Capital said political jitters continued to shake market participants as Prime Minister finally accepted finance minister’s ‘leave for absence’ due to his ill-health, “while sit-in in the capital etc. continued to create an environment of instability”.

Meanwhile, refinery, oil marketing (OMCs) and power sectors remained under pressure during the week as due to lower electricity demand during winters, government has decided to close high cost furnace oil based power plants and switched to newly commissioned RLNG and coal based power projects.

The KSE-100 shares index shed 1.45 percent or 595.99 points to close the week at 40,248.41 points. KSE-30 shares index shed 1.6 percent or 332.61 points to end at 20,329.90 points. Trading activity in the week picked up marginally with average daily turnover witnessing an increase of 5.8 percent to 112 million shares/day.

Foreign investors sold stocks worth of $6.3 million this week compared to a net buy of $1.1 million last week. Major selling was witnessed in commercial banks and cements of $4.3 million and $3.7 million, respectively. Whereas, major buying was witnessed in E&P, OMCs and telecom attracting $4.0 million, $1.1 million and $0.9 million, respectively.

Analysts said government’s decision to shut FO based power plants affected performance of OMCs down 4.1 percent and refineries down 2.7 percent, wiping out 218 points from the index. As a result, across the board pressure was seen in other sectors as well such as fertilizers down 1.3 percent and cements down 1.5 percent.

An analyst at Topline Securities said concern were raised on future outlook of oil based IPP’s, oil marketers, refineries, and explorers who would all be affected when furnace oil based power generation is phased out completely in the long run. “Albeit some positive news flow emerged where recommencement of Attock Generation, an oil based power unit, lifted sentiments towards the sector chain”.

On the macro front, country’s foreign exchange reserves declined to $19.7 billion on the back of external debt repayments. Additionally, the current account deficit ballooned to $5.01 billion during the first four month of FY18, up by massive 122 percent.

On the other hand, power sector’s circular debt reached Rs750 billion of which Rs421 billion falls in the government’s definition of circular debt whereas Rs327 billion is parked in the books of Power Holding Limited (PHPL). Faced with huge current account deficit and depleting foreign exchange reserves, government plans to raise $2-3 billion through Dollar-bond and Sukuk with tenors ranging from 5-30 years.

Analysts expect market to remain range bound due to political uncertainty and concerns over rising current account deficit. “Similarly, E&P Sector is most likely to witness bullish trend since oil prices are increasing in the international market and Russia has agreed on a framework to extend oil cuts. Moreover OPEC meeting is on November 30, 2017, which may decide to extend ongoing production cuts,” a report issued by Arif Habib Limited said.

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