LAHORE  -   The KSE-100 index witnessed a rocky week, closing with a minute gain of 0.1 percent WoW, at 38,586 level. With announcement of Pakistan receiving another US$1b from Saudi Arabia under the support package, the local bourse recovered by 1.5 percent in the last trading session alone. Nonetheless, ambiguity in direction of the government towards external financing and depleting reserves continued to shed investors' confidence during most part of the week.

Average daily traded volume in the market also contracted by 26 percent WoW to 121m shares, while traded value declined to US$40m, down 31 percent WoW. Among the sector laggards during the week were Technology & Communication (-2 percent WoW) and Pharmaceuticals (-1 percent WoW), while among the gainers were Chemicals (+3 percent WoW) and Oil & Gas Exploration Companies (+1 percent WoW). Moreover, disappointing 17 percent YoY decline in auto sales for Nov-2018 took the sector down by 2 percent WoW. On stock-related development, the government has formed a committee that would inquire against the heads of Sui Southern Gas Co (SSGC, +0.7 percent WoW) and Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Co (SNGP, -3.0 percent WoW). Other key news during the week were that Asian Development Bank (ADB) extended Pakistan's US$7.5b COBP programme to 2019-2021, ADB will provide $284mn for power transmission network, Moody's reported 4.3 percent GDP expectations for Pakistan, State Bank of Pakistan's (SBP) forex reserves declined by $242m to $7.26b, first batch of trade prices data received electronically by Pakistan from China and Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) delegation met with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Experts said that the KSE-100 index started the week off on a positive note after Prime Minister Khan’s meeting with a Pakistan Stock Exchange delegation led by PSX Chairman Sulaiman Mehdi on Dec 09. However the index was unable to maintain this positivity due to a lack of any triggers and fears of an impending economic slowdown. Resultantly, the index remained unchanged, adding a miniscule 24 points (or +0.06 percent).

Sector-wise the best performers for the week were Engineering and Textiles as they added 199 points, cumulatively. While on the other hand IPPs limited the index as they chipped away 62 points.

Foreigners’ selling for the week was US$12.9m vs. US$2.5m in the previous week. This was there 32nd week of consecutive selling. Among local investors’, Insurance and Individual were net buyers amounting to US$15.1m, cumulatively.  

In a notice to the exchange Matco Foods Limited (MFL) announced it has entered into an agreement with Barentz International (B.V.) to establish a joint venture company in Pakistan, Subject to approval of competition commission of Pakistan.

Engro Corporation announced the closing of a deal signed earlier this year with Vopak in relation to the Dutch company’s acquisition of a 29 percent share in Elengy Terminal Pakistan Ltd. (ETPL).

A State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) official confirmed that a second US$1b bailout package from Saudi Arabia had been received by Pakistan. The ministry of industries and production has requested provincial governments for crackdown against dealers involved in hoarding of urea stocks that is resulting into price hike.

The government is working on various proposals to facilitate export of manpower to Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Italy and many other countries, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari said.

Gold fell as stock markets gained for a third straight day, but the metal held in a tight range ahead of next week’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting when the US central bank is widely expected to raise interest rates.