KARACHI: Bulls dominated the stock market on Monday as the benchmark index recovered from a dull and lacklustre session, surging nearly 580 points in intra-day trading.
In the morning, the trading kicked off on a positive note despite a lack of interest from investors. After the first hour of trading, the index slumped into the negative territory, hitting an intra-day low of 38,161.72 points.
Later, in a dramatic turn of events, the index shot up as investors cherry-picked stocks at attractive valuations. Moreover, improvement in the current account deficit and clarity over the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout also helped boost confidence of market participants.
At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded an increase of 545 points, or 1.42%, to settle at 38,851.95.
JS Global analyst Maaz Mulla said the market remained volatile throughout the session, hitting an intra-day low of 145 points and high of 576 points to finally close at 38,852.
"Positivity in the market came at the eleventh hour as buyers jumped in to cherry-pick value buys," Mulla said.
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Major contribution to the index came from MCB Bank (+4.2%), Habib Bank (+4.2%), Hubco (+2.1%), Lucky Cement (+2.4%) and Engro (+1.3%) as they cumulatively contributed 226 points to the index.
On the flip side, major laggards were Fatima Fertiliser (-1.1%), The Searl Company (-1.1%) and Mari Petroleum (-0.6%) as they cumulatively erased 12 points from the index.
"On the news front, the current account deficit plunged 59% in February 2019 compared to January, drastically reducing the deficit for the first eight months of the current fiscal year. Moreover, Finance Minister Asad Umar has hinted that bailout talks with the IMF are in final stages and the government will have further negotiations with the newly appointed IMF mission chief before reaching an agreement."
Investor's interest was witnessed in banking and cement sectors where Habib Bank (+4.2%), MCB Bank (+4.2%), United Bank (+2.5%), Lucky Cement (+2.4%), DG Khan Cement (+3.6%) and Maple Leaf Cement (+3.7%) closed in the green.
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"We expect overall lacklustre sentiment to persist in the market due to absence of major triggers and recommend investors to stay cautious," the analyst said.
Overall, trading volumes decreased to 99.5 million shares compared with Friday's tally of 129.47 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs4.5 billion.
Shares of 317 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 213 stocks closed higher, 87 declined and 17 remained unchanged.
K-Electric was the volume leader with 15.3 million shares, gaining Rs0.14 to close at Rs5.81. It was followed by The Bank of Punjab with 9.7 million shares, gaining Rs0.13 to close at Rs14 and Pak Elektron with 5.9 million shares, gaining Rs1.16 to close at Rs24.48.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs35.5 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.