KARACHI: The stock market witnessed a range bound session on Friday with the KSE-100 index closing down by 73.25 points (0.21 per cent) at 34,012.49.

Volumes stood down to 334 million shares of trading value of Rs12 billion as investors preferred to stay cautious ahead of the Federal Budget 2015-16 which was announced that evening.

Foreign investors bought shares worth $5.17m with inflows in banks, cement and foods sector. Local mutual funds also purchased equities of net $2.99m while individuals decided to trim portfolio with the sale of stocks valuing $2.65m.

Much of the market remained quiet. However, the textile sector rallied hoping for a favourable policy announcement in budget.

Dealers at a major brokerage house commented that the market remained mixed throughout the day, ending marginally lower. Investors chose to remain sidelined ahead of the budget and were largely seen booking profits.Analyst Ahsan Mehanti at Arif Habib Corp. said the stocks closed bearish amid cautious activity on pre-budget uncertainty. Investors speculated in leveraged stocks in the cement, automobile and textile sectors, which they thought could be gainers in the budget.

Cement sector posted healthy gains on the back of expectations of a hefty allocation towards the PSDP in the budget. DGKC and MLCF were up 1.8pc and 0.6pc. Textile sector remained strong with NML, NCL, and GATM trading in positive zone all through the day.

The oil sector remained largely weak with PPL, POL and OGDCL ending 0.3pc, 0.1pc and 1.1pc weaker. Banking sector also was under pressure as lower net interest margin expectations on falling discount rates translated into subdued investor interest.

Over the week, the KSE-100 index gained 3.8pc ahead of the announcement of the federal budget as cheap valuations attracted investors back to the market.

Trading activity also picked up with average daily volumes clocking higher WoW by 70pc to 316m shares. Net foreign buying was recorded at $23m against net selling of $6.7m the previous week.

Cement sector was a key outperformer during the week while banking stocks bounced back after having been battered over the past few weeks.

 

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