KARACHI: The week opened on a positive note on Monday as the stock market welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan.

At the same time, the oil and gas sector also recorded high activity accompanied with gains in the financial and retail sectors.

At close, the benchmark Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) 100-share index stood at 33,304.64 points, registering a rise of 0.21% or 69.91 points.

Elixir Securities analyst Haris Ahmed Batla said stocks started off positive carrying the momentum of Friday as the wider market welcomed the arrival of Chinese president.

“There was anticipation of over $40 billion investments in infrastructure and energy projects,” he said. “Cement shares and IPPs gained in early trade, however late selling in the wider market pulled stocks in the red.” On the contrary, shares of financial institutions attracted interest on reported institutional buying with MCB Bank (+5%) hitting the upper price limit while United Bank (+2.02%) and Allied Bank (+1.59%) also closed in the green.

Moreover, top retail players such as Pak Elektron (-4.33%) and Jehangir Siddiqui (-4.72%) closed the day at the lower price limit, said Batla.

JS Global analyst Arhum Ghous said the day was marked with intense volatility as the market reversed to hit a low of 33,229 points after touching an initial high of 33,650.

“The initial rally was largely on the back of positive investor sentiment due to the Chinese president’s visit.”

Ghous added despite a slight recovery in global oil prices, the oil and gas sector remained mixed with PSO ending 0.5% lower while Shell and POL closed 4.7% and 1.9% higher.

“Market rumours about Byco announcing a profit in its upcoming financial results continued as the stock ended higher to close at Rs11.70, up by 9%,” he said.

“Engro Foods hovered near its upper cap as it gained 4% after announcing an EPS of Rs1.29, beating market expectations.”

Trade volumes fell to 242 million shares compared to 400 million on Friday.

Shares of 366 companies were traded. Of these, 197 companies closed higher, 153 fell and 16 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs13.1 billion.

Fauji Cement was the volume leader with 45.4 million shares, losing Rs0.73 to close at Rs33.51. It was followed by Byco Petroleum with 22.4 million shares, gaining Rs0.95 to close at Rs11.70 and TRG Pakistan Limited with 20.1 million shares, losing Rs0.93 to close at Rs20.19. Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs180 million worth of shares during the session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.

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