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US Dollar 59.9 60
Bahrain Dinar 158 158.1
Canadian $ 50.85 50.95
Euro 70.75 70.85
Hong Kong $ 7.65 7.7
Japanese Yen 0.508 0.51
Kuwaiti Dinar 204 204.1
UK Pound 103.7 103.8
Last updated: Friday 23 Dec, 2005-12.30 P.M (PST)

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3 DAYS FORECAST
In oC

CITIES MIN MAX

HUM%

FOR.

KARACHI
Today 12 26 38 Sunny
Tomorrow 11 27 38 Sunny
Day after 11 28 38 Sunny
LAHORE
Today 1 20 87 Sunny
Tomorrow 2 20 87 Sunny
Day after 2 21 87 Sunny
ISLAMABAD
Today 0 18 59 Sunny
Tomorrow 0 18 59 Sunny
Day after 0 21 59 Sunny
HUM%: Humidity In %
FOR.: Weather Forecast
updated: Fri - Sun 23-25 Dec, 2005

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KARACHI         - 021 LAHORE          - 042 ISLAMABAD    - 051 FAISALABAD   - 041 MULTAN          - 061 PESHAWAR    - 0521 CANADA          - 1 KUWAIT           - 965 INDIA               - 91 IRAN                - 98 U.K                   - 44 U.A.E                - 971 U.S.A                - 1

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  STOCK WATCH

By SHABBIR H. KAZMI
Updated Oct 08, 2005

Bullets

•MMK Group of Russia has shown interest in purchasing Pakistan Steel.

•Pakistan and China eye to take their bilateral trade volume to around $8 billion by the end of 2008.

•Oil prices fell after the US government indicated it could release emergency stocks of heating oil this winter to avoid any supply shortfalls.

•London's Brent crude also declined by 86 cents to $61.94.

•Crude prices rose above $71 a barrel in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the US in August.

The market closed on a positive note with the KSE-100 index gaining 317 points during the week. There was also increase in volume indicating greater participation of the investors. However, it is yet to be seen how the market behaves during the month of Ramadan. Crude oil prices have already started to ease but still hovering on the higher side. High oil prices are expected to keep inflation rate high, erode purchase power and above all exert pressure of the foreign exchange reserves of the country. This may also put pressure of the exchange rate. The PTCL privatization story is still not over.

Askari Commercial Bank is expected to post earnings of Rs 1,955 million (EPS: Rs 12.97) for the full year 2005. Bank's deposits increased from Rs 83.3 billion at the start of the year to Rs 103.6 billion as of June 2005, growth of 24% or more than twice the sector deposits growth of 9.9%. The bank is expected to post substantial earnings growth over the years to come due to 1) increase in Net Interest Income, with interest based earnings contributing an average 76% to total revenue, 2) growth in interest earnings will be ably complemented by fee and commission income, exclusive of capital gains and dividend income, 3) rationalization of tax rate and 4) strong deposit growth, which will in turn spur advances growth. For the first half of 2005 Askari posted earnings of Rs 863.9 million, down by 27%, primarily because during the first half of last year the bank realized higher capital gains of Rs 520 million due to sale of its investments in NIT and other equity holding.

Fauji Fertilzer Bin Qasim needs a revisit due to a number of reasons. These include 1) the company partially shut down its urea plant in July 2005 for nine days for plant maintenance and the company has dropped its initial plan for another plant turnaround in 2005. Based on this, production estimates for 2005 urea production improve from 584,000 to 609,000 tons. 2) FFBQ has completed 40% of the work to revamp its ammonia plant, which would improve production capacity by 20%. The remaining work on this project is expected to be carried out in two phases, during which the company plans to shut down the plant for around one month. 3) On completion of the revamping process, FFBQ will benefit from higher capacity utilization to 115% and 119% for the DAP and urea plants respectively, and enhanced gas efficiencies. 4) To utilize the excess ammonia capacity upon completion of this revamp, FFBQ can either revamp its urea or DAP capacity. Since revamping of DAP plant offers higher returns the company is expected to opt for increasing DAP production capacity. FFBQ is due to announce its third quarter results on 20th October 2005. The company is expected to report 54% growth in earnings for the nine month period to Rs 2,049 million (EPS: Rs 2.19). In third quarter alone it is expected to post profit after tax of Rs 727 million (EPS: Rs 0.77), a growth of 46%. The expected growth in earnings is likely to be mainly driven by better retention levels on both the products (urea and DAP) and higher interest income on the cash balance of Rs 6.1 billion (as of end-June 2005).

Union Bank has been in the limelight for the last few days where the price of scrip has gone up. The Bank is all set to announce its third quarter results in the near future. Union Bank is trading in SPOT and will be adjusted for 15% bonus shares on 12th October 2005. The Bank is expected to announce profit after tax of around Rs1.23 billion for the three quarters as compared to Rs 597 million for the corresponding period last year, a growth of 107%. This growth is expected to be on the back of Net Interest Income growth along with increase in Fee, Commission, and Brokerage Income. Net Income of the bank is expected to grow from Rs1.99 billion to Rs 3.17 billion showing a growth of 59%. The reasons for this increase are growth in advances along with higher spreads making a double impact on profitability. According to data released by the central bank the spreads (difference between lending and deposit rates) of private banks have gone up from an average of 4.12% in the period Jan-Aug 2004 to 5.86% during Jan-Aug 2005 and are on a rise. Fee, Commission, and Brokerage income of the bank is also expected to go up considerably from Rs 771 million to Rs 1,146 million, showing a growth of 49%. Union Bank's advances are also expected to grow by 18% from Rs 51 billion in December 2004 to Rs 60 billion by September end. Till December end these may grow to Rs 63 billion. Likewise, bank's deposits may grow by 15% to Rs 72 billion and touch Rs 74 billion by the year end.

WorldCall group companies are scheduled to announce their full year financial results on Monday. The payphone company, World Call Communications is expected to post an EPS of Rs 1.14 for 2005 against Rs 1.53 for the corresponding period last year- a decline of 25%. The decline comes on account of a 2% drop in the company's topline as a result of lower tariffs on nationwide and international outgoing front, though part of the drop is expected to be offset by growth in traffic volumes. The company's subsidiary concern WorldCall Broadband is also scheduled to announce its results. The company is expected to post an impressive 364% growth in its EPS, taking it to Rs 0.97 as against Rs 0.21 in 2004. The growth in the company's earnings comes as a result of robust growth in WCBL's internet and cable subscribers. The WorldCall Broadband is expected to post a topline growth of 169%, which should take the company's total revenues to Rs 328 million as compared to Rs 122 million.

 
 

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