Market watch: Karachi stock market ends flat after four successive bearish sessions

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KARACHI: The stock market stayed steady after four days of corrections as the market held its breath in ancticipation of the new monetary policy.

The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index rose just 0.36 points to end at 22,714.68 points.

“Investors preferred to stay sidelined as ambiguity regarding the discount rate is still haunting the market. The banking sector remained the pick of investors as any upward change in Discount Rate (in the Monetary Policy Statement on August 27, 2013) is likely to boost the overall sector.” Said Khalil Usmani of JSGlobal.

Pakistan in exprected to release a new monetary policy which may include changes in the discount rate – the rate at which banks borrow from the State Bank – may change.

“Pakistan equities closed flat on the last trading day of the week, after a correction of 2.5% during the last two days, as investors attempted to square off short positions while others exercised caution.” Said Fareesa Baig of Elixir Securities.

Trade volumes fell to 171 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 217 million shares.

Shares of 331 companies were traded on the last trading session of the week. At the end of the day 167 stocks closed higher, 132 declined while 32 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs6.84 billion.

Bank of Punjab was the volume leader with 19 million shares gaining Rs0.43 to finish at Rs13.02. It was followed by Engro Polymer with 16 million shares gaining Rs0.92 to close at Rs13.83 and Nimir Ind. Chemicals with 13 million shares gaining Re1 to close at Rs6.01.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs39 million, according to data maintained by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.

Regional markets have been depressed recently as investors flocked to the American market on news of a rebounding dollar as the Fed announced it will cut down quantitative easing – a government monetary support programme for the American economy – on the back of improved economic indicators. Yesterday however the NASDAQ was shut down abrubtly during the day due to technincal difficulties, suspending trading for three hours.

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