KARACHI: The stock market continued to advance for the third successive session on Monday as tensions along the Line of Control (LoC) eased somewhat at the weekend.
The benchmark KSE-100 index opened up and traded largely in the positive territory. Investor sentiments improved as there was relative calm after week-long border tensions between Pakistan and India.
Furthermore, the investors welcomed news that the Ministry of Energy had floated Sukuk (Islamic bonds) worth Rs200 billion to reduce circular debt in the energy chain. The index also got support from banking stocks with market participants anticipating interest rate hike in the upcoming monetary policy meeting.
At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded an increase of 210.73 points, or 0.53%, to settle at 39,749.75.
JS Global analyst Maaz Mulla said the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) ended the session on a positive note with the benchmark KSE-100 index gaining 211 points.
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"On the news front, Pakistan is expected to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a potential bailout package worth $12 billion. Moreover, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February 2019 rose 8.21% year-on-year as compared to 7.19% last month."
Commercial bank stocks closed higher among which big banks boosted the index by 74 points. Habib Bank (+1.8%), United Bank (+1.6%) and Meezan Bank (+2.1%) were among big contributors to the index.
Moreover, The Bank of Punjab (+7.8%) closed at its upper circuit on the back of 2018 results released by the bank, which reported earnings per share of Rs2.86 and declared cash dividend of Rs0.75 per share.
"Going forward, we expect the market to remain positive, however, investors are recommended to book profits on strength," Mulla added.
Market watch: KSE-100 rises 484 points as Pakistan-India tensions ease
Overall, trading volumes increased to 168.4 million shares compared with Friday's tally of 137.2 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs5.8 billion.
Shares of 348 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 206 stocks closed higher, 117 declined and 25 remained unchanged.
The Bank of Punjab was the volume leader with 90.96 million shares, gaining Re1 to close at Rs13.79. It was followed by TRG Pakistan with 4.1 million shares, gaining Rs0.64 to close at Rs24.76 and Pak Elektron with 3.9 million shares, gaining Rs0.30 to close at Rs24.56.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs136.3 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.
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