KARACHI: The stock market maintained its positive momentum on Friday on the back of increased activity amid investors' interest in the oil and gas exploration stocks.
The oil and gas sector blossomed due to a rise in international crude prices while mixed sentiments were witnessed in the auto sector.
At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index showed an increase of 45.72 points or 0.10% at 44,301.20.
JS Global analyst Danish Ladhani said the stock market maintained its positive momentum with the KSE-100 Index hitting an intra-day high of +381 points, but it settled at 44,301.
"On the economic front, foreign exchange reserves of the country fell $299 million to $19.354 billion due to payments on account of external debt servicing and other official outflows," he said.
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Moreover, the federal government is likely to discontinue Rs3-per-unit subsidy as the Finance Division was unwilling to release funds against claims of power distribution companies.
Traded volumes increased 25% to 284 million shares while the traded value rose to $96 million.
Top volume stocks were Lotte Chemical (+3.78%), Dewan Cement (+4.62%) and The Bank of Punjab (+0.68%).
Investors were active in Lotte Chemical as the company announced its full-year result where it posted earnings per share of Rs0.27 for 2017 compared to Rs0.21 in 2016, along with a cash pay-out of Rs0.20 per share.
In the exploration and production sector, Oil and Gas Development Company (+1.17%), Pakistan Petroleum (+0.99%) and Pakistan Oilfields (+0.93%) closed in the green.
Mixed sentiments were seen in the auto sector ahead of release of sales numbers where Pak-Suzuki Motor Company (+0.76%) settled positive as the Japanese and Chinese bike assemblers increased prices of motorcycles by Rs1,000-7,000, citing rupee depreciation against the dollar and raw material becoming pricier.
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Investors' interest was seen in Hino (+3.75%) and Ghandhara Nissan (+5%) while Millat Tractors (-1.60%) and Indus Motor (-0.25%) closed in the red.
"Moving forward, we expect the market to remain positive in the near term where we expect flows from local institutions and foreigners to guide direction," Ladhani added.
Overall, trading volumes increased to 284 million shares compared with Thursday's tally of 228 million.
Shares of 375 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 219 stocks closed higher, 131 declined while 25 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs10.6 billion.
Lotte Chemical was the volume leader with 49.3 million shares, gaining Rs0.33 to close at Rs9.06. It was followed by Dewan Cement with 19.4 million shares, gaining Rs1.28 to close at Rs28.97 and Power Cement with 17.4 million shares, gaining Rs0.25 to close at Rs10.40.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs81.17 million during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.