Exhibiting signs of investor weariness and mixed responses to earnings releases, the benchmark index of Pakistan Exchange (PSX) closed the week ended 10th February 2017 at 49,925 points. Market participants’ response to earnings announcements swayed greatly, with investors continuing to favor higher payouts over earnings growth, and corporate action, particularly in cements kept the sector in the limelight. Average traded volumes rose to 414 million shares, up 12%WoW. Key news flows were: 1) PSMC launched imported luxury sedan Suzuki Ciaz at competitive price, 2) International Steel Limited (ISL) stated in a filing that the National Tariff Commission (NTC) has decided to impose definitive anti‐ dumping duties on galvanized steel coils/sheets for a period of five years, 3) PSO's receivables from different enterprises, particularly power companies, have swelled to Rs277 billion, and 4) As per State bank of Pakistan foreign exchange reserves of the country declined by US$413 million to US$22.03 billion by 3rd February and the external sector faces increased pressure as its trade deficit widened by 29%YoY to US$17.4 billion during 7MFY17 due to paltry exports and double digit growth in imports. Top performers at the bourse were: LOTCHEM, NBP, ASTL, NML, whereas laggards were: PTC, HUBC, AGTL and ABL. Volume leaders for the week were LOTCHEM, KEL, POWER and TRG. Oil is set to grab the spotlight in the coming week, where crude benchmarks are beginning to inch upwards on positive reviews of the OPEC and non‐OPEC output freeze. Results will remain the center of gravity, where companies reporting in the coming week include AGTL, HBL, FCCL, MLCF, DGKC, UBL, ENGRO and OGDC.
Commencing this week, commercial banks are scheduled to declare their CY16F/4QCY16F results. The first was MCB (8th Feb), followed by ABL (9th Feb) HBL (15th Feb). As a group, the Big‐6 banks are likely to post cumulative profit after tax of Rs127.5 billion for CY16 as compared to Rs129.7 billion for CY15, a decline of 2%YoY. Top‐line growth is likely to be constrained on account of lower yield on earning assets amid ongoing PIB substitution and lower banking spreads (4QCY16 spreads lower by 26bps YoY). However, improvement in credit quality has restricted the earnings decline with provisioning charges for the Big‐6 down by a sizable 81%YoY for CY16. That said, revaluation surplus likely to improve by a significant Rs176 billion, where higher utilization of the same can cause earnings expectations to deviate particularly in case of banks like MCB, NBP and ABL that have sizeable equity portfolios in addition to the bonds portfolio. While CY16 results are expected to remain flattish, price performance should remain hinged upon the following: 1) higher than expected payouts, 2) earlier than expected monetary tightening, 3) formal inclusion into MSCI EM with HBL, UBL and MCB likely to make it to the list.
Latest APCMA data showed that cement dispatches during January'17 remained relatively flat at around 3 million tons, while it fell 12.86%MoM due to heavy rainfall/snowfall impacting local construction activity (domestic demand, a decline of 14.56%MoM to 2.722 million tons in January'17). Exports also remained subdued during the month and declined by 2.71%YoY/+1.85%MoM) due to rising fuel prices/other input costs and import/anti‐dumping duties making it more difficult for Pakistan's exported cement to compete against the indigenous cement. Greater intensity of seasonal effect has slowed down the cumulative domestic demand growth was 9.52% in 7MFY17 as compared to 15.66% in 7MFY16. Though, analysts expect exports growth to remain flat due to prevalence of aforementioned issues, they also believe that domestic demand growth will likely resume double digits growth as construction activity is expected to pick pace due to relatively greater proportion of PSDP releases in second half of fiscal year and record level growth in private sector credit related to construction activity, up 25.25%YoY.
Two of the largest IPPs of Pakistan HUBC and KAPCO are also scheduled to announce their half yearly financial results. HUBC is anticipated to post profit after tax of Rs5.25 billion for 1HFY17 (down marginally) on the back of muted generation, Pak Rupee remaining firm against greenback and picking up of RFO prices. Expensing of higher O&M charges, inflated admin expenses and investment in associate related expenses are expected to taper profitability, while the higher receivables burden is expected to raise financial costs. KAPCO is forecast to post 1HFY17 net profit of Rs4.67 billion up 8%YoY, from lower generation, slight improvements in generation on gas and below the line expenses remaining in check. Devoid of major movement on the expansion front (financial close of CPHGC, TEL, KAPCO Energy) IPPs are expected to remain in the sidelines, for the time being.