Delivering persistent returns despite the recent spate of foreign selling (outflow of US$125.7 million since November’16), the benchmark Index of Pakistan Stock Exchange grew 0.63%WoW, gaining 271pts closing at 43,271 points. Supported by OPEC’s decision to restrict crude output and resulting movement in global benchmarks (Brent/WTI gained 11.8/8.4%WoW), upstream Oil & Gas climbed higher.
Key news flows during the week were: 1) CPI for November’16 was reported at 3.81%YoY compared to 4.21%YoY in October’16, implying sequential increase of 0.21%MoM, 2) deregulation of 95 and 97RON MOGAS affirmed by Minister stating that 92RON would replace the 87RON previously being supplied, 3) Finance Minister announcing increase in price of petrol and diesel, 4) GoP releasing Rs248.1 billion for various development projects under public sector development program (PSDP) under the current financial year as against a total allocation of Rs800 billion during the previous year and 5) Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) scheduled to open bids on Monday, December 5, 2016 submitted by foreign strategic investors and local institutions to for acquiring 40 percent stake of the bourse. Key gainers at the bourse during the week were: EPCL, MTL, ICI and ENGRO, whereas laggards were: NCL, NML and HCAR. Average traded volumes were highest for: BOP, PACE, ASL and WTL. Approaching end of the year holiday season, foreign participation is expected to take a back seat as local funds and institutional investors, favoring blue‐chip plays offering value. Rise in local oil prices have further fueled expectations of a bottoming out of the monetary atmosphere keeping commercial banks in the spotlight.
Gaining 6.9%MoM in November’16, PSX‐100 index stood its ground in what was an eventful month for the world; while global equity markets struggled (MSCI EM/FM down 5%/2%MoM) on policy uncertainties post Donald Trump’s election as US President. This was despite persistent foreign selling where outflow for the month rose to US$117.05 million ‐ the highest in CY16. While the entire main-board posted positive returns, Cements led the board returning 15.9%MoM (on anticipated strong growth in dispatches and reversal in coal prices after a short lived rally) followed by Textiles (+9.7%MoM due to anticipated pressure on local currency amid strengthening US$) and Chemicals (+8.0%MoM on reduction in gas prices for industries). Going into December’16, the market is likely to look towards the following, taking direction accordingly: 1) oil price trend in the light of OPEC’s production cut agreement and the stance adopted by non‐OPEC producers following the decision, 2) FOMC meeting on December 13‐14 where any potential rate hike can continue prompting outflows and 3) on‐going Panama papers related hearing keeping political pressure intact.
To stimulate growth, news flows have disclosed that the ECC has approved a 33% reduction in gas prices exclusively for industries, bringing down prices to Rs400/mmbtu. As an official notification by OGRA is still pending, lack of clarity remains on the inclusion of certain heads in the concession to be availed. It is general understanding that the gas price reduction extends to general industries that utilize gas as a fuel source including Steel, Glass, Fertilizers (concession available on fuel stock only) and Textiles. While benefiting industries by and large, Fertilizers, the largest industrial consumer of gas, stand to benefit the most followed by Steels and Textiles. Cements, on the other hand, are likely to remain unaffected unless the concession is also extended to captive power generation‐ gas tariff for which is determined under a separate head. In this backdrop, while the Fertilizer sector might enjoy a short‐term rally, a weak demand outlook and depressed international pricing dynamics can continue restricting price performance.