KARACHI: The stock market extended warm welcome to new year as the KSE-100 index shot up by 349.07 points or 1.09pc to its new all-time high at 32,480.35 on Thursday.

Bulls went on the rampage tossing most of the shares with cement sector accounting for 54m shares of the 230m aggregate shares traded at the market.

It was followed by chemicals sector with 23.8m shares and electricity sector placed at third with volume of 23.7m shares.

Foreign investors decided to take profit with sale of $3.16m worth stocks. Among local participants, individuals sold shares valued at $7.38m, while the aggregate offloading by the two was offset by net purchases of $10.03m worth equity by banks on Thursday.

In the cement sector; Attock, Maple Leaf and Cherat hit the ‘upper circuit’.

Analysts at JS Global stated that the pharmaceutical sector remained under pressure as the industry rejected the government proposed pricing policy. GlaxoSmithKline declined 1.28pc and Abbott Laboratories fell by 1.5pc.

“The CPI inflation for December stood at 4.30pc lower than the consensus expectation of 4.7pc causing selling pressure in the banking sector as the case for further interest rate cut gained strength,” they said. However, on a month-on-month basis the inflation crawled up from 3.90pc in Nov 2014.

Market watcher Ahsan Mehanti at Arif Habib Corp stated that the government decision for cut in local petroleum prices after slump in WTI crude to over five-year low, rising exports data in cement sector, extension of gas allocation to Engro Fertilisers and expectation of strong earnings in fertiliser, banking and cement sectors played a catalyst role in bullish activity.

MARKET GLITCH: The stock market stood suspended till 1:15pm on the first trading day of 2015. Pre-open started at 1:15pm and ‘all market’ opened at 1:20pm.

“In view of the above and in line with board resolution dated March 3, 2009 on the subject, trading time of all markets is extended by 30 minutes, including rectification time, to compensate the trading time loss,” KSE explained in a notice to investors.

Yet, in Islamabad, a spokesman of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan stated that the regulator had “taken a serious cognisance of the KSE trading halt” and that it had formed a committee, comprising SECP, CDC and NCCPL professionals to probe into the reasons for the systems failure and submit its report within a week.

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