Dhaka stocks gained marginally in the past week, ending a four-week free-fall, as the regulatory limit on share prices revived the market amid investors’ nervousness over the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
DSEX, the key index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange, gained 0.84 per cent, or 33.32 points, to close at 4,008.29 points on the last trading session of the past week on Wednesday, after losing 758 points in the previous four weeks.
The week was shortened to four sessions due to a public holiday on March 26 on the occasion of Independence Day.
The market will remain closed until April 4 as the government has declared a 5-day general holiday beginning from today to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
Starting the week with a slight fall on Sunday, the core index gained on the next day before falling on Tuesday. The DSEX rose in the last trading session.
Although the DEX finished the week in positive zone, most of the scrips had no buyers with thin presence on investors.
The newly introduced circuit breaker restricted investors from selling off shares over fears of the outbreak while some institutional investors, especially banks, bought shares at floor prices, market operators said.
The stock market regulator Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission on March 19 set the lowest prices for all equities to contain the fall in the market over fears of the pandemic.
Given the assurance that prices could not fall further, some banks moved to buy shares using the special funds created for investment in the stock market, as per the Bangladesh Bank’s direction to keep the market afloat.
Average share prices of banks, non-bank financial institutions and pharmaceutical sectors advanced by 3.58 per cent, 0.56 and 0.50 per cent respectively.
Share prices of engineering, energy and miscellaneous sectors dropped by 2.20 per cent, 1.19 per cent and 0.39 per cent respectively.
The global outbreak of coronavirus and its arrival in Bangladesh had dragged down the DSEX to a near seven-year low on the day before the introduction of the circuit breaker.
The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research confirmed five COVID-19 deaths and 39 virus infection cases in Bangladesh till Wednesday.
Fears over the pandemic gripped the investors after the institute said that the virus had begun to show signs of community transmission in the country.
In addition to the general holiday, the government also shut public transport, and extended the closure of educational institutions to contain the spread of the virus.
It is feared that the pandemic will have a catastrophic impact on the country’s economy.
The deadly virus has killed 18,962 people and infected 4.25 lakh others across the globe until Wednesday.
The turnover on the DSE dropped to Tk 221.95 crore in the past week compared with Tk 314.62 crore in the previous week.
Out of the total 358 shares traded last week, 196 declined, 140 advanced and 22 remained unchanged.
DS30, the blue-chip index of the DSE, gained 0.38 per cent, or 5.02 points, and closed at 1,330.83 points.
Shariah index of the bourse DSES added 0.14 per cent, or 1.25 points, over the past week to close at 920.69 points.
Monno Ceramic Industries led the turnover chart with shares worth Tk 42.84 crore traded in the past week.
The other leaders in the turnover chart were Linde Bangladesh, Square Pharmaceuticals, Orion Pharmaceuticals, Renata Limited, LafargeHolcim Bangladesh, Mercantile Bank, Apex Footwear, Southeast Bank and Central Pharmaceuticals.
ACI Formulations fared the best last week with a rise in share prices of 22.5 per cent while the Bangladesh Steel Re-Rolling Mills performed the worst, losing 9.55 per cent.
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