Stocks unchanged amid speculations over military appointments

A stockbroker is reflected in a trading screen at Pakistan Stock Exchange. — Reuters/File
A stockbroker is reflected in a trading screen at Pakistan Stock Exchange. — Reuters/File
  • Investors tracked army chief’s appointment.
  • Participation remained low amid overcautious trade.
  • Analysts see trade to remain on tight leash for some time.

KARACHI: Stocks ended almost unchanged Thursday on fears that if PTI Chairman Imran Khan forces President Arif Alvi to stonewall the naming of new military leadership, the country might plunge into a political crisis of epic proportions, dealing more blows to the already tottering economy.

However, later in the evening, the speculations petered out after President Alvi signed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s summaryofficialising Lieutenant General Asim Munir as the next Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC).

This put an end to the political uncertainty that gripped the country the whole day.

The KSE-100 Shares Index, the benchmark of the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), edged up by 23 points or 0.05% to finally close at 42,904 points after hitting an intraday high of 134 points at 43,015 points.

Topline Research said the day’s major development was prime minister’s picking Gen Asim Munir for the top military post for the next three years.

“In addition to this, Hub Power Company decided to go to court against the encashment notice, which the company received Wednesday,” the brokerage said.

The power company closed the day at Rs66.96, up Rs0.51 or 0.34%, after the aforesaid development.

During the day, fertiliser, tobacco, exploration production, and oil marketing companies’ stocks contributed positively to the index.

Engro Corporation, Pakistan Tobacco Company Limited, Pakistan Petroleum Limited, Dawood Hercules Corporation Limited, and Pakistan State Oil added 71 points to the index, cumulatively.

JS Research attributed the lukewarm trade to rollover week.

“We expect range-bound activity to continue in coming sessions, hence recommend investors avail any downside as an opportunity to buy in banks and energy sectors,” the brokerage said.

On the other hand, System Limited, and Habib Bank Limited, witnessed some profit-taking, taking a toll on the gains.

Over 151 million shares were traded at the bourse, while the total value clocked in at Rs5.8 billion. WorldCall Telecom Limited led the volumes chart with 25.6 million traded shares.

Pakistan’s current account deficit yawned $204 million or 56% to $567 million for October 2022 as compared to September’s $363 million, month-on-month, while it shrank 68% year-on-year, courtesy of government curbs that have successfully put brakes on certain imports.

The rupee also went down by a few notches versus the US dollar, losing 0.05% in the interbank market as investors awaited clarity on the army chief’s appointment.

The local unit closed at 223.92 after a decline of Re0.11, the central bank data showed, compared to Wednesday’s closing rate of 223.81.

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