KARACHI: Stocks remained strong for the third consecutive day as the KSE-100 index added 191.72 points (0.50 per cent) to Wednesday’s enormous gains. The index on Thursday closed at a new all-time high of 38,751.60.

Volumes increased by 5pc to 255.8 million shares and well above the year-to-date average of 109m shares. Traded value fell 8pc to Rs17.6bn. While the local institutional investors decided to book profit, foreign investors bought stocks worth $7.87m.

The rally was led by the banking sector stocks as investors continued to react positively to Pakistan’s reclassification into MSCI emerging markets. Banks also benefited as Senate approved Corporate Re­structuring Companies Bill 2016, which will allow banks to sell their non-performing loans (NPLs) to corporate restructuring companies in a timely manner and consequently clean up their balance sheets.

HBL and BAFL closed at their upper limits gaining 5pc, while MCB Bank rose 4.9pc and UBL was up by 2.6pc.

Investor interest was also seen in cement sector.

Cements rallied on the back of being able to pass on the impact of increased FED announced in the budget as well as due to immense pressure to withdraw proposed restrictions on the relief of group taxation. Among gainers MLCF closed at its upper limit and DGKC was up 3.2pc.

Major contribution to index gain came from HBL, MCB, UBL, DAWH and DGKC, which together added 317 points while FML, HUBC, PPL, and OGDC and MARI took away 181 points.

Selling pressure was seen in the automobile sector on the back of appreciating yen prices. Major losers in the auto sector were HINO down 3.6pc and PSMC 2.6pc.

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