Pakistan stocks traded in a narrow range on Wednesday, with the benchmark KSE-100 Index ending only marginally positive and still shy of the 45,000-point level.
The KSE-100 hit an intra-day low of 44,709 points, a drop of 0.39%, as the sixth review of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) kept moving ahead. The latest update indicates the review will now be held on February 2.
Investor interest was seen in technology stocks in the final trading hours, lending support to the index. At close on Wednesday, the index finished at 44,955.05, a gain of 67.28 points or 0.15%.
"A range-bound session was witnessed due to concerns over rising Covid-19 cases and mounting international oil prices," said Arif Habib Limited (AHL) in its post-market comment.
"Cement sector stayed in the red as provisional data for the month of January depicts a decline of 19% YoY to 3.85mn tons whereby domestic dispatches recorded a dip of 18% YoY to 3.32mn tons led primarily by slowdown in construction activity," it added
Meanwhile, development around the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme also caused uncertainty.
Later, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin said it was Pakistan that requested the IMF to postpone the board meeting, as it seeks to pass the SBP (Amendment) Act from the Senate in the coming days.
On the corporate front, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) granted in-principal approval to United Bank Limited (UBL) for conducting due diligence of Samba Bank Limited (SBL) in respect of the acquisition of 84.51% shareholding of SBL, currently held by Saudi National Bank.
Volumes decreased substantially on Wednesday, clocking in at 137.31 million on the all-share index, down from 207.04 million a day ago. The value of shares traded also decreased to Rs5.36 billion, down from Rs8.12 billion on Tuesday.
TRG Pakistan Limited was the volume leader with 18.81 million shares, followed by Ghani Global Holdings with 6.01 million shares, and TPL Properties with 5.89 million shares.
Shares of 333 companies were traded on Wednesday, of which 130 registered an increase, 179 recorded a fall, and 24 remained unchanged.