KATHMANDU: After losing more than 8 points in the previous session, Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse) index traded slightly higher for most of the initial trading hour. Nonetheless, stocks returned to its losing ways and struggled in the latter trading hours. The benchmark index shed 8.85 points to close at 1,144.27 points on Monday.
With Monday's loss, the index has hit the lowest since the beginning of 2019. Sellers remain fairly dominant in the current scenario due to lack of any major news in the financial space. Meanwhile, high interest rates still persists as a major concern for the equity market keeping investors from taking substantial long positions. Total turnover remained sub-par as only Rs 364 million worth of shares changed hands on the day.
Weakness was reflected among sub-indices of all major sectors excluding Hotels group. Hotels sub-index edged slightly higher. Some of the biggest losses came from Trading and Hydropower stocks. The sub-indices of Trading and Hydropower groups tumbled by 1.88 percent and 1.63 percent, respectively. 'Others' and Life Insurance sub-indices followed suit, logging with losses of over 1 percent each. Microfinance, Development Bank and Banking scrips also came under slight pressure as reflected by modest drops in their respective sub-indices. All other sub-indices closed the day in red.
In terms of market activity, shares of Nepal Bank Ltd were traded the most as the commercial bank posted a turnover of over Rs 27 million. Next on the list was Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Ltd with Rs 23 million worth of shares traded. Shares of Prabhu Bank Ltd Promoter Share, Citizen Investment Trust and NIC Asia Bank Ltd were also traded actively as reflected in their turnovers of Rs 21 million, Rs 19 million and Rs 12 million, respectively.
Among gainers, share price of Central Finance Company Ltd jumped up by 3.67 percent, followed by Barun Hydropower Company Ltd which added 2.97 percent on its share price. Similarly, share price of RSDC Laghubitta Bikas Bank Ltd increased by 2 percent after the microfinance company posted a 120 percent net profit growth in the second quarter of FY2018/19. Other gaining securities of the day include Siddhartha Equity Oriented Scheme, Himalayan Distillery Ltd, Chhyangdi Hydropower Ltd and Gurkhas Finance Ltd.
On the other hand, energy stocks led the list of losing sides. Share prices of Ankhu Khola Jalavidhyut Company Ltd and Khanikhola Hydropower Company Ltd tanked over 4 percent each. Similarly, Kalika Laghubitta Bittiya Sanstha Ltd, Laxmi Laghubitta Bittiya Sanstha Ltd and City Express Finance Co. Ltd also saw their share prices fall by over 3 percent each.
Among other companies publishing earnings for the second quarter, Grameen Bikas Laghubitta Sanstha Ltd reported a moderate 15 percent growth in its net profit. Meanwhile, National Hydropower Company Ltd reported a net profit of over Rs 14 million against a loss of Rs 9.72 million in the corresponding quarter of the previous year.
ARKS technical analysis indicates two consecutive bearish candlesticks on the daily timeframe, indicating selling pressure prevalent of late. Relative Strength Index (RSI) and Moving Average Convergence/ Divergence (MACD) also indicate the market losing significant steam as the sentiment remains fairly bearish. A breach of support at around 1,140-point mark might see the index tumble further to 1,120 points.