Dhaka stocks were kept afloat on Thursday amid regulatory intervention but the turnover slumped to one-and-a-half-year low due to political worries surrounding the announcement of verdict against Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia in a graft case.
The key index of Dhaka Stock Exchange, DSEX, advanced by 0.49 per cent, or 29.27 points, to finish at 5,936.34 points after gaining 12.90 points in the previous session.
The market opened in subdued mood in slow trading but the DSEX managed to remain in positive territory throughout the session amid ‘measured’ trading so that the market did not go down, market operators said.
They, however, said that because of slow and measured trading the day’s turnover slumped to Tk 300.64 crore, which is lowest since July 11, 2016 when the turnover was Tk 272.75 crore.
Besides, the number of trades on the bourse also hit a seventh-month low of 73,056 trades. The previous lowest trade was at 63,498 on June 13, 2017.
Officials of a number of brokerage houses said that the presence of investors was thin as Dhaka was almost deserted amid the tightening of security and there was tension surrounding the Khaleda verdict.
They said that many of the investors were discouraged against going for aggressive selling amid the political tensions.
Institutional investors like state-run Investment Corporation Bangladesh were active in buying shares to keep the market afloat, market operators said.
A special court on Thursday announced the verdict at around 2.45pm, sentencing Khaleda Zia to jail for five years in a corruption case, which her party said was politically motivated.
The market remained on edge for the last few days over the political worries and the Bangladesh Bank’s decision to cut banks’ lending capacity.
A senior official of a brokerage house said that the low turnover presented a ‘true picture’ of the market despite rise in indices.
He, however, hoped that if there was no major political unrest, the market would become ‘stable’ from the next week when a number of companies would declare dividends for 2017 and the issue of sales of the shares of DSE to a Chinese consortium would be finalised.
On Thursday, the average share prices of bank, non-bank financial institutions and pharmaceuticals sectors gained by 1.01 per cent, 0.43 per cent and 0.40 per cent respectively that weighed most on the index.
Among the prominent scrips, the share prices BRAC Bank, Grameenphone and Square Pharmaceuticals increased on the day.
Out of 337 companies and mutual funds traded, 185 advanced, 90 declined and 60 remained unchanged.
DS30, the blue-chip index of the DSE, also gained 0.42 per cent, or 9.34 points, to close at 2,225.48 points.
Shariah index DSES added 0.38 per cent, or 5.36 points, to close at 1,389.57 points.
Square Pharmaceuticals led the turnover chart on the day with its shares worth Tk 15.29 crore changing hands.
Grameenphone, Monno Ceramics, National Bank, LankaBangla Finance, Pharma Aid, BBS Cables, Beximco Pharmaceuticals, Usmaina Glass Sheet Factory and Paramount Textiles were the other turnover leaders.
Premier Insurance was the top gainer with an 11.11-per cent rise in its share prices, while Nahee Aluminum Composite was the worst loser, shedding 3.70 per cent.
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