Friday, 20 January 2017

Pakistan stock market remains under pressure

The benchmark index of Pakistan Stock Exchange remained volatile during the week owing to political developments related to Panama case. With changing tone of the Supreme Court bench in favor of Prime Minister, the market reversed its earlier losses and closed at 49,365 levels, up 0.31%WoW. Textiles, Autos and Steels were the major driving sectors owing to announcement of textile package, early models launch/robust sales, and imposition of antidumping duty on CRC imports, respectively. As against this, E&Ps and Banks provided major drag on Index due to foreign selling as Privatization Commission approved divestment of OGDC, and expectations of delay in interest rate liftoff, respectively. Average daily traded volumes fell by 20%WoW to 489 million shares where volume rankings continued to be occupied by second tier scrips such as: TELE, FABL, KEL, SSGC and BOP. Volume leaders during the outgoing week included: MTL, SNGP, HCAR, PSMC and ICI, while laggards included: OGDC, ASTL, HBL, UBL and PSO. Key developments during the week included: Prime Minister restored subsidy on fertilizer which was earlier withdrawn by the Ministry of Food, 2) SECP proposed setting requirement all equity funds and funds of funds would have to maintain at least 5% of net assets in cash and cash equivalents, 3) NTC imposed antidumping duty of 13.17%19.04% on imports of cold rolled coils/sheets from China and Ukraine for a period of 5 years, 4) Privatization Commission approved initiation of capital market transaction of OGDC’s with divestment of up to 5% stake, and 5) The cutoff yield declined slightly at the latest Treasury Bills auction with heavy participation of Rs1.071 trillion, while bids valued Rs538 billion were accepted. The market is expected to remain volatile in near term due to political risk associated with ongoing Panama case hearings. Possible selling spree of mutual funds to meet proposed SECP requirement can create additional pressures. Expectations of delay in interest rate liftoff may continue to keep banking sector under pressure. While analysts expect status quo in upcoming Monetary Policy announcement later this month, it can shed further light on interest rate outlook. However, analysts also believe that Textiles, Autos and Steels to remain in limelight due to aforementioned developments. Telecom/IT sector may also garner investors’ interest as the government plans to announce tax relief package for Telecom/IT sector.
With a sharp rise in December'16 (US$1.08 billion), current account deficit in 1HFY17 has accumulated to US$3.58 billion, higher than the deficit recorded for the last fiscal year. The deterioration in 1HFY17 reflects weak trade dynamics (trade deficit up 15.6%YoY) on declining exports and tepid remittances. Going forward, analysts expect the trend to continue with FY17 current account deficit at 1.85% of GDP on account of anticipated increase in imports as crude oil prices stabilize at higher levels and remittances failing to provide support. Concerns also remain on foreign investments as FDI from China has remained lower this year (down 54%YoY in 1HFY17) with the 10%YoY increase in 1HFY17 reflecting US$462 million flows under EFOODS's acquisition. Within this backdrop, analysts highlight mounting risks on foreign exchange reserve with upcoming external repayments (cumulative US$1.5 billion US$1.75 billion under Eurobond, Paris Club and China SAFE debt retirement) largely funded through debt flows.
Lucky Cement (LUCK) is scheduled to announce its 2QFY17 result on 26th of this month and expected to post consolidated/unconsolidated earnings of Rs4.27 billion/Rs3.48 billion (EPS: Rs13.21/Rs10.78), up 10%YoY/6%YoY from Rs3.87 billion/Rs3.29 billion (EPS: Rs11.97/Rs10.16) for 2QFY16. The growth in earnings is expected to be led by growth in topline owing to 11.3%YoY growth in dispatches as domestic dispatches are expected to go up 23.3%YoY backed by stronger domestic demand and additional sales of clinker to FCCL. However, increase in average coal price by 68%YoY is expected to shrink gross margin (GM) to 43% limiting gross profit growth to +1%YoY. Inter alia, 17%YoY decline in distribution cost due to fall in export dispatches by 28.5%YoY, and 76%YoY higher other income due to higher cash base is expected to result in further earnings growth. Consolidated earnings are expected to get a further boost from operations of 50MW wind farm and 1.18 million tpa cement plant in Congo.
AKD Securities has revisited its investment case for ASTL owing to recent increase in rebar prices by Rs3,000/ton. The increase in rebar prices is attributable to the rise in imported scrap prices and Chinese rebars prices. In this backdrop, ASTL has rallied 44% during January’16 so far, while further increase in domestic rebars prices is anticipated. In this regard, analysts estimate Rs1,000/ton increase in rebars prices to potentially raise earnings. However, they highlight that the local rebars prices are being raised to pass on cost of scrap where US$10/ton increase in scrap price is expected to dampen earnings by Rs0.88/share while it will require Rs1,300/ton increase in rebars price to completely pass on this cost. They also believe that ASTL's price rally has been overdone.

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