Karachi Stock Market Rallies with Political Stability, Gains 4.9% in a WeekPSX Celebrates Youth Entrepreneurship with Enterprise Challenge Pakistan Gong Ceremony

Karachi, The Karachi stock market experienced a significant rally, closing the week with a 4.9% increase, equivalent to nearly 2,900 points, as political tensions eased and the process of forming a coalition government made headway. This recovery came after a week of losses where the market shed around 3,000 points amid political uncertainties. The positive momentum was initially sparked by Bilawal Bhutto's announcement of joint candidates for Prime Minister and President, further bolstered by the formation of provincial assemblies and the announcement of the Sindh Chief Minister.

According to AKD Securities Limited, the market's upward trajectory was supported by several factors, including healthy corporate earnings and encouraging economic indicators. The current account deficit for January 2024 remained low at $269 million, and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) reported a 30% year-over-year increase in tax collection, reaching PKR 5.15 trillion from July 2023 to mid-February 2024. Additionally, the pharmaceutical sector saw a notable rally following the deregulation of non-essential medications, contributing to the week's highest gains. However, yields for 3-month treasury bills rose by 126 basis points in the latest auction, indicating market expectations of a monetary policy status quo in the upcoming March 2024 meeting.

Market participation was slightly subdued compared to the previous week, with daily traded volumes averaging 298 million shares, a 15% decrease week-over-week. Other significant developments included the soaring circular debt in the power sector, reaching Rs2.635 trillion from July to January, a 39% increase in IT exports in January due to regulatory support and currency stability, and a 21% decline in Foreign Direct Investment inflow to $689.5 million year-over-year.

Sector-wise, Pharmaceuticals, Woollen, and Technology led the gains, while Property, Synthetic and Rayon, and Vanaspati sectors lagged. Notably, individuals were the major net sellers, while Mutual Funds emerged as significant buyers during the week. Top performers included YOUW, SEARL, OGDC, PSO, and ABOT, whereas PSEL, GADT, JVDC, NESTLE, and FATIMA faced the largest declines.

Looking ahead, the market's direction is expected to be heavily influenced by political developments and the new government's negotiations with the IMF regarding the second Stand-By Arrangement review and the Extended Fund Facility program. Investors are advised to exercise caution and focus on financially robust companies with high dividend yields amidst ongoing political and economic uncertainties.

Karachi, The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) marked the successful conclusion of the Enterprise Challenge Pakistan (ECP), a business competition designed for school children, with a gong ceremony. This event not only commemorated the closing of the ECP but also aimed to foster entrepreneurship among the country's youth. The ECP initiative, a collaborative effort between Prince’s Trust International and SEED Ventures, is dedicated to providing students with a comprehensive understanding of business through simulations, mentorship, and networking.

According to Pakistan Stock Exchange Limited, the ceremonial gong to signal the start of the trading day was struck by the competition's winning student, Syeda Shiza Ali. The event was graced by distinguished guests including H.E. Ms. Sarah Mooney, British Deputy High Commissioner, Karachi; H.E. Mr. Andrew Dalgleish, Deputy British High Commissioner to Pakistan; Mr. Shabir Randeree, Chairman of Prince’s Trust International; Mr. Will Straw, CEO of Prince’s Trust International; and Mr. Faraz Khan, Founder and Director of SEED Ventures, among others. An investor awareness session was also held, aiming to enlighten students on capital raising and investment opportunities through PSX.

Mr. Farrukh H. Khan, MD and CEO of PSX, highlighted the significance of the Enterprise Challenge Pakistan in nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit of Pakistani youth. He emphasized PSX's commitment to financial literacy and investor education as pivotal for empowering the younger generation to envision and achieve their financial goals.

Mr. Will Straw, CEO of Prince’s Trust International, praised the global reach of the Enterprise Challenge program in inspiring future entrepreneurs and imparting essential business skills. He expressed gratitude towards PSX for providing participants with practical insights into the financial and business sectors.

Ms. Shaista Ayesha, CEO of SEED Ventures, underscored the importance of introducing young individuals to the stock market, not just for their personal financial understanding but also for fostering a broader perspective on economic empowerment and their potential role within it.

The Enterprise Challenge Pakistan, through its business simulation game and comprehensive educational framework, aims to equip students with the skills necessary for success in the business world, while Prince’s Trust International and SEED Ventures continue their commitment to economic prosperity and empowerment through ecosystem development and impact investments.