KARACHI: After hitting a nearly three-year low in the preceding session, the stock market bounced back on Thursday, posting a decent recovery, but still ended the day below the 36,800-point mark.
The KSE-100 index traded in a narrow range and oscillated between the low of -80 points and high of +331 points. Selling pressure was noted in the cement sector, which contributed negatively to the index. However, an improvement in the country's trade deficit helped bolster investor confidence as the market ended trading on a positive note.
At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded an increase of 208.32 points, or 0.57%, to settle at 36,787.64.
Market watch: KSE-100 hits 33-month low due to concern over IMF report
Topline Securities, in its report, stated that investors reacted positively to the much-awaited talks between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Pakistan, which commenced on the sidelines of IMF-World Bank meetings in Washington.
"Finance Minister Asad Umar also met with new World Bank President David Malpass and apprised him of the macroeconomic situation in the country, to which he appreciated the reform process and assured Umar of continued World Bank support to Pakistan."
Investor confidence also got a boost from encouraging economic indicators as the inflow of remittances in 9MFY19 vs 9MFY18 was up 8.74% and remittances from Saudi Arabia continued to be the highest at $3.74 billion, the report said.
Market watch: KSE-100 recovers 208 points owing to improved economic data
The cement sector continued its weak performance, erasing 20 points from the index while commercial banks added 48 points, followed by oil marketing companies and exploration and production firms, which cumulatively added 94 points to the index.
Overall, trading volumes increased to 143.8 million shares compared with Wednesday's tally of 141.2 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs4.4 billion.
Shares of 338 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 181 stocks closed higher, 129 declined and 28 remained unchanged.
TRG Pakistan was the volume leader with 11.9 million shares, losing Rs0.08 to close at Rs20.10. It was followed by Fauji Cement with 11.6 million shares, losing Rs0.56 to close at Rs16.24 and Maple Leaf Cement with 11.4 million shares, losing Rs1.52 to close at Rs29.50.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs641.6 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.