Market watch: Monetary policy uncertainty drags stocks down | The Express Tribune


The Pakistan Stock Exchange on Wednesday reversed its trend and shed nearly 350 points as investor sentiment took a hit from the rescheduling of monetary policy meeting to an earlier date by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

Late on Tuesday, the central bank announced that the monetary policy committee would meet one week earlier on November 19, 2021, citing unforeseen developments that had affected the outlook for inflation and the balance of payments.

The lack of clarity about the issue sparked speculation of a sharp increase in interest rate by the central bank and shattered market confidence.

Fuelling the decline, the joint session of parliament, held on Wednesday to discuss some key issues, played on the minds of market players, who chose to book profit ahead of any surprising development.

Automobile, cement and oil sectors bore the brunt of the sombre mood and a majority of stocks of these sectors closed with a loss.

Following a brief open in the positive zone, the KSE-100 index began its descent, falling steadily throughout the session. However, buoyed by clarity about the proceedings of parliament, a buying spree emerged in the final hour, which helped erase some of the losses.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded a decrease of 348.49 points, or 0.75%, to settle at 46,194.42.

A report of Arif Habib Limited stated that a bearish momentum was witnessed in the stock market as aggressive tightening of 100 basis points was expected in the upcoming monetary policy announcement.

With mounting inflationary concerns and rising secondary market yields, an across-the-board sell-off was observed just after the opening bell in the market, mainly led by cement, steel and technology stocks.

Stock accumulation was witnessed in the banking sector as investors opted for a cautious approach. In the last trading hour, institutional buyers were seen going for value hunting, the report said.

JS Global analyst Muhammad Waqar Iqbal said that the market reacted negatively at the opening of Wednesday’s session following the SBP’s announcement about monetary policy meeting, which was brought forward to November 19, 2021 from November 26, 2021.

“Expectation of a hike in interest rate sent cyclical stocks in the negative direction but it was positive for the banking sector,” he said.

The KSE-100 index failed to sustain the momentum throughout the session and closed down by 348 points at 46,194.

“Investors have taken a wait-and-see stance before the outcome of upcoming monetary policy meeting, and the coming week will also be the rollover week, hence a cautious approach is advised,” the analyst said.

Overall trading volumes fell to 238.5 million shares compared with Tuesday’s tally of 243.2 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs10.1 billion.

Shares of 343 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 83 stocks closed higher, 241 declined and 19 remained unchanged.

Service Fabrics was the volume leader with 18.9 million shares, losing Rs0.12 to close at Rs11.94. It was followed by TRG Pakistan with 15.97 million shares, losing Rs9.78 to close at Rs120.67 and Ghani Global Holdings with 13.97 million shares, losing Rs2.08 to close at Rs31.65.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs965.6 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.

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