KARACHI: Stocks continued to head north on Thursday defying the trend of the regional markets. The KSE-100 index gained 191.66 points (0.58 per cent) to close at 33,211.92.

Local bourse started off on a positive note and showed intraday gains of 300 points before it was pulled back by some profit-taking mainly in the defensive stocks.

The positive change of market mood after the SECP-brokers’ meeting last week in which agreement was reached on phase wise implementation of the Brokers Regulations 2015, has seen the index recoup almost 1,500 points since its low close at 31,709 on December 1.

Market participants said that improved sentiment, net foreign buying in the previous session along with renewed passion in pharmaceuticals, banking and sugar related counters, fuelled the rally. Foreigners however were net sellers of the stocks valued at $2.64 million.

Banking sector was firm after the yield was maintained in Wednesday’s T-bill auction but cement stocks were weak. The leading contributors to the index were UBL, MCB, PSO, HBL, SEARL and MARI, while ENGRO, KAPCO, OGDC, HUBC and DGKC stood out as the laggards.

“Resumption of composite dialogue with India together with expectations that the IMF board will approve the next tranche of its extended arrangement in its meeting on 18th Dec added to the positive sentiments,” said Ovais Ahsan at JS Global said.

Analyst Ahsan Mehanti stated that stocks closed bullish amid cautious activity at KSE on uncertain global equities and commodities.

Upbeat cement sales data for November 2015 and renewed institutional interest in oversold oil, banking and cement stocks were major factors that helped maintain bullish activity.

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