US SHARES RETREAT AS MARKET PONDERS TAX CUT PROSPECTS
Wall Street stocks fell early Friday, pausing after the prior session’s rally as investors tried to fuss out the prospects for President Donald Trump’s tax cut plan. The House of Representatives, as expected on Thursday approved its version of the tax reform legislation, while a key Senate panel cleared a different version. However, the path to a majority is considered much tougher in the upper chamber of Congress than in the House. Leading analysts vary in their assessment of the odds that Washington will ultimately succeed in passing the measure.
About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 23,309.99, down 0.3 percent. The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 0.1 percent to 2,582.05, while the tech-rich Nasdaq composite Index shed 0.1 percent to 6,790.04. Twenty-First Century Fox shot up 5.1 percent on reports that Comcast and Verizon are circling possible acquisitions of the film and television assets from Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. Comcast lost 1.7 percent, while Verizon gained 0.8 percent. Tesla Motors gained 2.4 percent as it unveiled an all-electric semi truck at a California event.
PAKISTAN STOCKS END LITTLE CHANGED
The stock market traded in a narrow range on Friday and managed to end last trading day of the week on a positive note. Market players noted a slight uptick in activity compared to the previous day as investors took positions in small-cap stocks.
The KSE-100 Index started going down in the morning session, but later it recovered and climbed to touch an intra-day high at 40,900 points. At close, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index registered an increase of 31.09 points or 0.08 percent to settle at 40,844.40. It is said that a range-bound session was witnessed at the bourse as the KSE-100 Index traded between an intra-day high of +97 points and intra-day low of -176 points. Most of the selling pressure came in the second half of the day, which pulled the market down.
The banking sector faced some hammering where major banks closed in the red. Habib Bank (-0.17%), United Bank (-0.35%) and National Bank (-0.37%) were major laggards of the sector. Among oil marketing companies, Pakistan State Oil (-3.23%) closed in the red as the government imposed a ban on the use of furnace oil in power production due to the smog in upper Punjab.
Overall, trading volumes rose to 115 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 96 million. Shares of 349 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 178 stocks closed higher, 149 declined while 22 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs5.5 billion. TRG Pakistan was the volume leader with 15.9 million shares, gaining Rs1.75 to close at Rs36.79. It was followed by Azgard Nine with 12.7 million shares, gaining Rs0.51 to close at Rs15.66 and WorldCall Telecom with 9.9 million shares, losing Rs0.02 to close at Rs2.73.
SRI LANKAN STOCKS RISE FOR 2ND SESSION ON JOHN KEELLS
Sri Lankan shares rose half a percent on Friday, climbing for a second straight session, buoyed by gains in market heavyweight John Keells Holdings on bargain hunting.
The Colombo stock index ended 0.54 percent firmer at 6,483.55, recovering from its lowest close since Sept. 27 hit on Wednesday. It shed 2.6 percent in the five sessions through Wednesday on worries over new taxes on cash-rich telecom and banking sectors. It shed 1 percent this week. John Keells shares rose 2.3 percent, while Cargills (Ceylon) Plc climbed 2.4 percent.
Foreign investors, who have net bought equities worth 19.6 billion rupees so far this year, net sold shares worth 92.6 million rupees ($602,865) on Friday.
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera imposed new taxes on motor vehicles, telecoms, banks and liquor in a bid to boost revenues in its 2018 budget outlined last week, as the budget deficit for the current year slipped to 5.2 percent of the gross domestic product.
TOKYO SHARES CLOSE HIGHER AFTER SEE-SAW SESSION
Tokyo stocks ended higher on Friday after a see-saw session swayed by profit-taking and buying on confidence in corporate earnings.
The Nikkei 225 index gained 0.20 percent, or 45.68 points, to 22,396.80. Over the week, the key index lost 1.25 percent, the first weekly loss since early September. The broader Topix index ended up 0.12 percent, or 2.05 points, at 1,763.76, but it was still down 2.04 percent from last Friday.
Shares surged at the start of the day following a rally on Wall Street by progress by US lawmakers on pushing through a tax-cut plan and more upbeat earnings. However, a surge in the yen pared the gains. The dollar fell to 112.54 yen Friday from 113.02 yen in New York. Toyota fell 0.64 percent to 6,917 yen while Sony was up 0.73 percent at 5,215 yen.
HONG KONG SHARES CLOSE WEEK WITH GAINS
Hong Kong stocks ended the week with another rise, in line with a broad advance across Asia on hopes that US lawmakers will be able to push through Donald Trump’s much-vaunted tax-cut plans.
The Hang Seng Index rose 0.62 percent, or 180.28 points, to close at 29,199.04. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.48 percent, or 16.34 points, to 3,382.91 and the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, fell 2.78 percent, or 55.83 points, to 1,954.30.