KARACHI: Equities continued to recover in volatile trade with traders booking intraday profits, trimming morning gains ahead of today’s planned protests.

At close, the Karachi Stock Exchange benchmark 100-share index gained 0.71% or 201.05 points to end at 28,505.55. Elixir Securities analyst Harris Ahmed Batla said onstitutional buying interest was gathered after news suggested difference of opinion within the protestors, while reports of foreigners’ buying also helped regain confidence

“Engro Fertilizers (EFERT +1.7%) announced earnings above market consensus and closed up,” said Batla.  “Most first-tier stocks traded range bound on a day where small cap retails plays continued to lead volume charts to the likes of Bank of Punjab (BOP +2%), Maple leaf Cement (MLCF -0.2%) and Lafarge Cement (LPCL -0.1%).”

The analyst added that the market will remain sensitive to developments in Islamabad during protests and any outcome that leads to a better political climate will be cheered.

JS Global analyst Fahad Ali said that MARI remained the top performer within the oil and gas sector to reach its upper circuit following the finance ministry’s suggestion to revise the gas pricing formula for Mari Gas.

“Volumes stood low as investors await clarity on the political situation. We expect the market to bounce back very strongly if the planned protests by opposition parties passes without any cataclysmic event.”

Trade volumes fell to 133 million shares compared with Tuesday’s tally of 168 million.

Shares of 331 companies were traded on Wednesday. Share prices of 94 companies declined, 219 closed higher while 18 remained unchanged at the end of the day. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs7 billion.

Bank of Punjab was the volume leader with 12.6 million shares, losing Rs0.15 to finish at Rs7.82. It was followed by Maple Leaf Cement with 8 million shares, losing Rs0.05 to close at Rs27.37 and Lafarge Pakistan Cement Limited with 7.9 million shares, losing Rs0.02 to close at R15.52.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs61 million during the trade session, according to data maintained by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.

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