Stocks finished almost flat on Wednesday, with turnover crossing Tk 15 billion-mark on the Dhaka bourse, as investors were active on both sides of the trading fence.
Following the previous day's steep rise, the market opened on a positive note and the key index rose 37 points within the first 15 minutes of trading. But, profit booking on banking stocks eroded most of the initial gains.
Finally, DSEX, the prime index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), went up 4.19 points or 0.05 per cent to settle at 7,060. The core index added more than 130 points in the past three consecutive sessions.
However, two other indices edged lower. The DSE 30 Index, comprising blue chips, dropped 7.96 points to finish at 2,683. The DSE Shariah Index (DSES) also saw a fractional loss of 0.67 point to close at 1,484.
Turnover, a crucial indicator of the market, crossed Tk 15 billion-mark again and amounted to Tk 15.07 billion, which was 1.08 per cent higher than the previous day's tally of Tk 14.91 billion.
Market analysts said the market nudged higher as the cautious investors opted for booking profit on banking and financial institutions stocks after significant price surge.
However, some investors turned their focus on general insurance and life insurance sectors that soared 5.20 per cent and 4.40 per cent respectively, they said.
"The previous day's enthusiasm faded away as the investors showed their profit booking tendency on quick-gaining stocks, particularly on heavyweight banking and financial institutions sectors," said a merchant banker.
He noted that the institutional investors were active in the market, taking the market turnover over Tk 15 billion-mark again.
"Profit-booking in the heavyweight banking sector reversed the day's upward momentum and the key index ended marginally higher," according to EBL Securities.
The stockbroker noted that investors showed interest in the insurance stocks ahead of the year-end declaration.
Top ten most-traded stocks grabbed over 41 per cent of the day's turnover. The investors mostly focused on the banking sector, capturing 24 per cent of the day's total turnover, followed by pharma 13 per cent and textile 10 per cent.
The heavyweight banking sector suffered most, losing 0.70 per cent, followed by financial institutions with 0.60 per cent, power 0.30 per cent and telecom 0.30 per cent.
On the other hand, the general insurance sector generated the highest return, gaining 5.20 per cent, followed by life insurance with 4.40 per cent and cement 0.40 per cent.
Losers took a modest lead over the gainers, as out of 366 issues traded, 177 declined, 152 advanced and 37 remained unchanged on the DSE trading floor.
IFIC Bank was the most traded stock with shares worth Tk 1.20 billion changing hands, closely followed by Beximco (Tk 1.15 billion), Delta Life Insurance (Tk 657 million), Orion Pharma (Tk 621 million) and NRB Commercial Bank (Tk 571 million).
Express Insurance was the day's top gainer, rising 9.90 per cent while IFIL Islamic Mutual Fund-1 was the worst lower, losing 5.97 per cent.
The Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) also edged higher with the CSE All Share Price Index - CASPI -gaining 3.75 points to settle at 20,642 and the Selective Categories Index - CSCX-- rising 2.97 points to close at 12,410.
Of the issues traded, 128 advanced, 127 declined and 34 remained unchanged on the CSE.
The port-city bourse traded 18.08 million shares and mutual fund units with a turnover value of Tk 553 million.