KARACHI: Lack of trading interest was evident on the stock market on Wednesday where the KSE-100 index ended flat with minor increase of 13.14 points to close at 32,825.03.

Trading started on a firm footing with the benchmark index making to the intra-day high by 150 points, only to succumb to selling pressure as investors thought it prudent to book profit ahead of the year-end.

Local individual and institutions were conspicuous by their absence. Total volume remained thin, down by 45 per cent to 80m shares from 145m shares that changed hands a day ago while traded value declined by 40pc to Rs 5.2bn from Rs8.6bn. Foreign funds were also disinclined to trade, recording net sales at just $0.70m worth stocks.

Accumulation was seen in cement stocks in anticipation of higher earnings due to falling input prices, such as those of coal and recent reduction in power tariff.

DG Khan Cement (DGKC), Maple Leaf Cement (MLCF) and Lucky Cement (LUCK) rose by 0.6 to 0.8pc.

“Moreover, oil exploration sector also moved to halt the decline as news of implementation 2012 petroleum policy for MariI and PPL kindled investors’ confidence despite weak international oil prices,” said traders at Global Securities.

Mari Petroleum rallied 3pc on reports that the company would receive higher prices for new discoveries under the 2012 Petroleum Policy.

Leading gainers on Wednesday were HUBCO (+1pc), OGDC (+1pc), Mari (+3pc) and LUCK (+1pc) while Nestle (-3pc), PAEL (-3pc), Kapco (-1pc) and FFC (-1pc) stood out as main laggards.

“Going forward, since only one trading session is left before New Year, we expect year-end profit-taking to subside, enabling KSE-100 index to consolidate at 33,000 level,” analysts said.

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