KARACHI: In a positive turn of events, the stock market broke its seven-day losing streak on Thursday as the benchmark index closed above 43,800 points.
The KSE-100 Index shot up as soon as trading began, but it then made a dramatic plunge. Later, the index resumed its upward journey.
Encouraged by attractive valuations, investors found an opportunity to buy stocks, which helped the index cross 44,100 points in intra-day trading. The recovery was mainly led by oil stocks as US crude prices rose above $71 per barrel in the wake of US decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. Later, the index fell on account of profit-taking.
At close, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded an increase of 60.78 points or 0.14% to settle at 43,855.78.
Elixir Securities’ analyst Ali Raza said Pakistan equities closed slightly positive in volatile trading after midday gains were pared on institutional selling.
“The market opened positive and the benchmark index slowly gained momentum and inched up to test 44,000 with financial, cement and exploration and production stocks helping and driving the index,” Raza said.
Exploration and production stocks stayed strong on higher global crude prices whereas financial stocks were in the limelight on expectations of a possible reduction in super tax for FY19. The finance minister has given assurances to the corporate sector that the super tax issue would be reconsidered.
Moreover, cement stocks drew investor interest on talk of expected increase in cement prices by Rs15-20 per bag.
Despite the early gains, the rally lost steam in late trading with selling pressure emerging particularly in banking heavyweights such as MCB Bank (-1.9%), Habib Bank (-0.9%) and United Bank (-0.8%).
“[We] expect the market to consolidate in a 300 to 400-point range with absence of any development on the macroeconomic front and rising political noise ahead of elections continuing to keep investors cautious and sidelined,” he added.
Overall, shares of 364 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 196 stocks closed higher, 156 declined while 12 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs6.4 billion.
Trading volumes rose to 196.3 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 191.9 million.
First Dawood Investment was the volume leader with 13.7 million shares, gaining Rs1 to close at Rs5.01. It was followed by Dewan Cement with 11.1 million shares, losing Rs1.02 to close at Rs19.50 and Invest Bank with 11.1 million shares, gaining Rs0.05 to close at Rs2.81.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs276.6 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.