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Stocks end flat; Rupee weakens; o/n rates up

Latest Pakistan News / Karachi News > Business News – Pakistani stocks ended almost flat on Monday as investors booked profits in blue chip companies such as Oil and Gas Development Co Ltd (OGDCL) but bargain hunters accumulated shares of middle-tier companies, dealers said.

Business News

The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) benchmark 100-share index ended 0.10 per cent, or 13.44 points, higher at 13,286.73 points.

Volume rose to 278 million shares, compared with 103 million traded on Thursday. Friday was a public holiday.

“Stocks closed higher amid investor interest in second and third tier stocks,” said Ahsan Mehanti, director at Arif Habib Corp.

Volume leader Azgard Nine ended 12.71 per cent higher at 8.87 rupees and TRG Pakistan closed 10.78 per cent higher at 4.42 rupees.

In the currency market, the rupee ended weaker at 90.77/82 to the dollar, compared with Thursday’s close of 90.62/70 because of increased import payments following a rise in global oil prices.

Oil prices were steady at around $125 per barrel on Monday, pausing after a rally of around 1.5 per cent the previous session as renewed worries about the financial stability of the eurozone returned to the fore.

The rupee had been supported last week by remittances from Pakistanis overseas, which rose 23.4 per cent to $8.59 billion in the first eight months of the 2011/12 fiscal year, compared with $6.96 billion in the same period last year.

In February, remittances totaled $1.16 billion.

The rupee touched a record low of 91.28 to the dollar in January, dragged down by concerns over higher payments for oil imports and Pakistan’s overall economic health.

There was also concern about Pakistan’s current account deficit, which widened to $2.952 billion in the first eight months of the 2011/12 fiscal year, compared with $194 million over the same period in the previous year.

The current account deficit in February was $260 million, compared with a deficit of $98 million in February 2011. The deficit stood at $364 million in January 2012.

In the money market, overnight rates rose to 11.90 per cent, compared with Thursday’s close of 9.10 per cent amid lack of liquidity in the interbank market despite the State Bank of Pakistan conducting a reverse repo in which it bought back government paper worth 223.05 billion rupees ($2.46 billion). Reuters

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