KARACHI: The Pakistan stock market continued to advance at a rapid pace on Thursday as the KSE-100 index surged for the fourth successive session, rising past the 35,500-point mark.
Investors resumed buying with renewed vigour as uncertainty of the past few days evaporated. The index shot up as soon as trading began following announcement that the delayed $3.2-billion Saudi oil and gas deferred payment facility would be operational from July this year.
The development triggered positive response from market participants, who were also encouraged by the rupee's stability against the dollar.
On the economic front, Fitch Solutions forecast no more interest rate hikes in Pakistan throughout the year after a hefty increase in the policy rate, which would ultimately stabilise inflation numbers over the coming months.
At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded an increase of 944.2 points, or 2.73%, to settle at 35,581.34.
Topline Securities, in its report, stated that the KSE-100 index continued its positive trajectory for the fourth successive session, during which the index cumulatively gained 2,414 points. However, in the last two sessions, the index rose 6.3%, the highest in a decade.
"The market closed on the higher side as positive sentiments were driven by the approval of a deferred payment facility for oil supply by Saudi Arabia and likely creation of the PSX support fund," it said.
Commercial banks were the best performing sector as it added 247 points to the index. It was followed by fertiliser and exploration and production (E&P) sectors, which cumulatively added 327 points.
JS Global analyst Maaz Mulla said the market rallied 6.4% in the last two trading sessions as the flow of funds spiked due to decent buy-side interest from local institutions in the past two days.
"The cement sector continued its upward trajectory with heavy volumes where DG Khan Cement (+5%), Lucky Cement (+5%), Maple Leaf Cement (+5%), Fauji Cement (+6%) and Cherat Cement (+5%) closed at their respective upper circuits," he said.
Investors' interest was witnessed in the banking sector on the back of interest rate hike. NBP (+5%), Bank AL Habib (+3.7%), Bank Alfalah (+3.3%), UBL (+2.7%) and HBL (+2.7%) were the major movers of the sector.
"Moving forward, we expect the market to continue the similar trend and recommend investors to book profit on strength," Mulla said.
Overall, trading volumes increased to 227.7 million shares compared with Wednesday's tally of 203.5 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs7.2 billion.
Shares of 359 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 267 stocks closed higher, 75 declined and 17 remained unchanged.
The Bank of Punjab XD was the volume leader with 16.3 million shares, gaining Rs0.02 to close at Rs12.27. It was followed by Unity Foods with 15.3 million shares, gaining Rs0.62 to close at Rs11.74 and K-Electric with 15.2 million shares, losing Rs0.06 to close at Rs4.32.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs353.8 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.