KARACHI – The Karachi stock market closed slightly lower on Tuesday, with shares of fertilizer firms under pressure after Fauji Bin Qasim (FFBL) posted a larger-than-expected quarterly loss.
The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) benchmark 100-share index closed 0.05 percent lower, or 6.48 points, at 13,764.22.
Volume was 268.73 million shares, compared with 261 million shares traded on Monday. “Investors preferred to book gains in the fertilizer sector after a more-than-expected loss posted by FFBL,” said Samar Iqbal, a dealer at Topline Securities.
In currency markets, the rupee ended firmer at 90.66/71 to the dollar, compared with Monday’s close of 90.70/75. The rupee has been supported recently by remittances from Pakistanis overseas, which rose 21.45 percent to $9.73 billion in the first nine months of the 2011/12 fiscal year, compared with $8.02 billion in the same period last year.
In March, remittances totaled $1.14 billion.
In Friday’s monetary policy statement the central bank said the external sector was likely to remain under pressure because of both external debt payments and a lack of foreign aid.
Pakistan’s current account deficit widened to $2.95 billion in the first eight months of the 2011/12 fiscal year, compared with $194 million over the same period 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.
Overnight rates in the money market were almost flat at 11.90 percent, compared with the previous day’s close of between 11.75 percent and 11.90 percent amid tight liquidity in the interbank market.