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US SHARES FLAT AS MARCH JOBS GROWTH DISAPPOINTS

Wall Street stocks were flat early Friday after US job growth in March disappointed and President Donald Trump ordered air strikes on Syria.

The United States added just 98,000 new jobs last month, much below the 180,000 expected by analysts. In a bright spot, however, unemployment fell to 4.5 percent.

Stock futures fell sharply on the news, but then recovered somewhat as the market viewed the US strikes “as an isolated incident without any meaningful economic impact.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up slightly at 20,665.41. The broad-based S&P 500 remained essentially flat at 2,357.71, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.1 percent to 5,876.23.

KSE-100 ENDS WEEK ON POSITIVE NOTE, BUT VOLUME STILL DOWN

Driven by value buying, the KSE-100 Index gained 532.77 points for an increase of 1.13 percent, a welcome sign for stock market participants who had been sidelined due to political noise, broker defaults and terror incidents in the country.

The KSE-100, which hit a record high at the end of January before retreating close to 6 percent over the next two months, finished at 47,889.37 on Friday. It is said that the market finally broke its bearish streak as index rebounded to close at 47,899 level (up 533 points), however, volumes stood low at 152 million shares.

Major contribution to the index came from heavy weights HBL (+2.95%) and UBL (+3.68%) in the banking sector. Friday’s trading volume amounted to 152 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 146.3 million. Shares of 376 companies were traded.

At the end of the day, 246 stocks closed higher, 103 declined while 27 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs7.2 billion. Dewan Cement was the volume leader with 21.3 million shares, gaining Rs1.04 to close at Rs21.99.

EUROPEAN SHARE MARKETS DROP

European stock markets fell at the start of trading Friday as geopolitical concerns dominated sentiment after the US launched missile strikes on Syria — and ahead of key US jobs data.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index dipped 0.1 percent to 7,293.36 points compared with the close on Thursday. In the eurozone, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 slid 0.5 percent to 12,174.51 points and the Paris CAC 40 dropped 0.3 percent to 5,104.73.

HONG KONG STOCKS PARE SYRIA LOSSES TO CLOSE FLAT

Hong Kong stocks ended flat on Friday as traders pared initial heavy losses from a US missile attack on Syria that had fanned geopolitical concerns.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged down 6.42 points to 24,267.30, having dived more than one percent at one point.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.17 percent, or 5.61 points, to 3,286.62 and the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, inched lower 0.04 percent, or 0.88 points, to 2,028.33.

 

TOKYO STOCKS UP AFTER US STRIKES IN SYRIA

Tokyo shares closed higher Friday after a day of seesawing trade as US missile strikes against Syria fuelled geopolitical concerns.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index gave up early gains after Donald Trump ordered an assault on a Syrian airfield in retaliation for a chemical attack with a sarin-like nerve agent that Washington blamed on President Bashar al-Assad.

Tokyo’s Nikkei index closed 0.36 percent, or 67.57 points, higher at 18,664.63, but it lost 1.29 percent over the week. The broader Topix index of all first-section issues rose 0.65 percent, or 9.59 points, to finish at 1,489.77. It fell 1.51 percent this week. The dollar weakened to 110.12 yen after the air strikes before rebounding to 110.64 yen, compared with 110.76 yen in New York.

BHARTI AIRTEL, IDEA CELLULAR STOCKS RALLY ON RELIANCE JIO’S DISCONTINUATION

Stocks of Idea Cellular and Bharti Airtel rallied by more than 2 percent a day each after news that Reliance Jio is withdrawing its Summer Surprise offer.

Sunil Mittal owned Bharti Airtel’s stocks were up by 2.22 percent at Rs 349.25 a piece and that of Kumar Mangalam Birla owned Idea Cellular were up by 2.60 percent at Rs 88.75 a piece before noon on Friday. At Rs 40.30, even stocks of Reliance Communications owned by Anil Ambani were up by 0.37 percent.

The BSE at the same time was at 29,856.44 down by 0.24 percent. The sector regulator-Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Thursday evening asked Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Jio Infocom to withdraw its just launched ‘Summer Surprise’ offer. Jio said it accepted the decision.

Trai’s move comes amidst increasing pressure on the regulator from incumbent telcos and the telecom department over Jio’s two successive promotional offers – Welcome Offer and Happy New Year stretching cumulatively from September 5 to March 31– which were cleared by the sectoral watchdog but led to a brutal rate war which hurt the industry’s finances, leading to a sharp fall in government revenue.

The legality of Jio’s offers and Trai’s decision to clear them are already being challenged in the high court and the telecom tribunal, which has asked the regulator to revisit its decision. Jio, which has already attracted over 72 million paid users, has maintained all their plans are legally complaint. TRAI’s latest decision will help bring a semblance of pricing rationality back into the market over the next few months, said industry experts.

Under its Summer Surprise, all JIO Prime members making their first recharge payment of Rs 303 (or higher) plans by April 15 got three months complimentary services in addition to the benefits of their purchased plan. The offer was launched on March 31 and from now on, although one can continue to become a Prime member till the stipulated period, the subscriber won’t get the complimentary benefits.

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