KARACHI: In spite of the political situation keeping the momentum slow at the bourse and profit-taking in blue-chip stocks, the market ended on a positive note on Thursday.

The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index closed the day’s trading with an increase of 0.06% or 21.87 points at 34,408.73.

Elixir Securities analyst Sibtain Mustafa stated that the bourse saw a relatively dull day, with the index managing to record a small change as a day of mourning in Karachi brought life to a standstill.

“Engro Corp (+4.2%) nevertheless hit yet another high as punters played along with the momentum,” said Mustafa. “News of progress on LNG (liquefied natural gas) helped keep bears on a leash.”

Mustafa said cement shares continued to trade mixed with Cherat Cement (+3%) touching new highs after investors bet on potential lower electricity tariff that would support margins. Additionally, Lucky Cement (-2.7%) witnessed profit-taking.

Overall, investors remained relatively cautious as the rollover week for futures contracts kept the upside limited, he said.

“Oils traded sideways with Pakistan State Oil (+0.6%) recovering marginally on rumours of payment of Rs40 billion by the government to ease the energy sector debt while Pakistan Petroleum (-0.3%) ended marginally negative after announcing earnings that were below estimates.

JS Global analyst Arhum Ghous added the market tasted a volatile session with lacklustre volumes due to the political instability.

Pak Elektron Limited (+3.4%) remained in the limelight as the company is benefiting from being highly leveraged due to the cut in interest rate.

In the chemical sector, Archroma Pakistan continued its southwards journey as the company posted disappointing quarterly results (EPS of Rs5.19).

Trade volumes declined to 206 million shares compared to 234 million on Wednesday.

Shares of 376 companies were traded. Of these, 162 declined, 182 closed higher and 32 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs14.6 billion.

Pak Elektron was the volume leader with 14 million shares, gaining Rs1.65 to close at Rs50.71. It was followed by Lafarge Pakistan Limited with 13.2 million shares, gaining Rs0.20 to close at Rs17.85 and Cherat Cement with 12.9 million shares, gaining Rs2.45 to close at Rs81.51.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs321 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.

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