KARACHI: The KSE-100 index extended its gains on Friday and rose close to 500 points as optimism prevailed at the bourse following Prime Minister Imran Khan's announcement to return an Indian Air Force pilot as a "gesture of peace".
The announcement eased tensions between Pakistan and India, and strengthened investor sentiments. The index spiked from the moment trading began and maintained the uptrend as well as recovered from occasional dips to finish the first session of the day near 39,500 points.
The second session also started positively, but in the middle, focus was diverted towards developments related to the release of Indian pilot and investors lost interest. This session ended almost flat.
Market watch: From 1,491 points to just 129 points down, KSE-100 recovers remarkably
At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded an increase of 484.41 points, or 1.24%, to settle at 39,539.02.
Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that easing of tensions at the border between Pakistan and India gave investors a solid reason to leap forward although trading volumes did not increase as much.
"Blue-chip stocks such as Habib Bank, United Bank, Engro, Oil and Gas Development Company, Pakistan Petroleum and Pakistan Oilfields contributed to the market performance," it said. "The banking sector led the volumes with 24 million shares (topped by The Bank of Punjab), followed by the engineering sector (steel stocks)."
Financial results of Mughal Iron and Steel helped improve the sector's performance, which had International Steels as the main contributor. Both stocks hit their upper circuits and closed near the day's high.
Stocks that contributed positively included Habib Bank (+76 points), Oil and Gas Development Company (+56 points) and Dawood Hercules (+38 points).
On the other hand, stocks that contributed negatively included EFU General (-7 points), Bank Alfalah (-7 points) and Habib Metro (-6 points), the report added.
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Overall, trading volumes decreased to 137.2 million shares compared with Thursday's tally of 159.4 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs7.38 billion.
Shares of 344 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 241 stocks closed higher, 83 declined and 20 remained unchanged.
The Bank of Punjab was the volume leader with 8.84 million shares, gaining Rs0.1 to close at Rs12.79. It was followed by Oil and Gas Development Company with 5.6 million shares, gaining Rs4.09 to close at Rs153.25 and K-Electric with 5.5 million shares, gaining Rs0.05 to close at Rs6.09.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs342.3 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.
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