In terms of absolute returns, the Karachi Stock Exchange's benchmark index, KSE 100, has outsmarted the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Sensex since the beginning of 2005.
The KSE 100 has appreciated 45 per cent from a level of 6218.4 on December 31, 2004, to an all-time high of 9603.03 on March 11, 2005. During the same period, the BSE Sensex has appreciated only by 2.67 per cent from 6602.69 to the Friday's close of 6853.73.
A chartist with a domestic broking firm says: "Among the charts of all Asian indices, the chart of the KSE 100 index shows a beautiful one way upside curve. The rally in fact has been really sharp in the past one year."
But such a rally is not likely to divert the foreign flows Pakistan. A head of equity with a foreign broking firm said, "No serious players are interested in investing in the Pakistani market as yet. It lacks depth and provides very less opportunity for large investors."
A managing director with a domestic broking firm said, "Though the Pakistan market is touching new high every day, it's still a long way to scare the Indians. The volumes in the Karachi Stock Exchange are very low, which is evident from the large swing on the bourses."
The size of the Pakistan market is indeed very small. The total market capitalisation of Pakistan market is $29 billion.
This is even less than ONGC, which has a market cap of $30 billion. The BSE Sensex has a market capitalisation of $178 billion. The volumes and turnover, too, are no match.
The total daily turnover of KSE is Rs 5,009.88 crore, while the 30 shares in the Sensex basket alone command an average daily turnover of Rs 774.64 crore. And there are roughly 6500 stocks listed on the BSE.