KARACHI: Trading at the stock market got off to a storming start on the first trading day of the New Year on Monday. The KSE-100 index broke through the 48,000 barrier and galloped 433 points (0.91 per cent) to close on a historic high at 48,240 points.

It marked sixth consecutive session of gains at the market. The benchmark touched intraday high of 48,357.57 points.

Overall, volume decreased by 2.8pc over the last session to 376m shares, while trading value remained flat at Rs18.8bn. K-Electric and DSL led the volumes chart with collective contribution of 74m shares.

Ahsan Mehanti at Arif Habib Corp stated that stocks closed bullish amid institutional interest in fertilisers, banking and oil scrips on investor speculations ahead of earning season.

Heavyweight bluechips including HBL rose 3.09pc, Engro 2.79pc, UBL 1.96pc and MCB 1.86pc, cumulatively contributing 279 points to the index rise. Banking sector led the gains in the market despite decline in month-on-month Consumer Price Index (CPI) number.

Investors fell over each other in picking up steel stocks, which saw almost all scrips on the sector, Amreli Steel, Mughal Iron, Crescent Steel and Dost Steel close at their upper price limits.

Analysts said that Lucky Cement fell 1.60pc, POL 1.47pc, BAHL 1.63pc and PKGS 2.2pc dragging the index down by 76 points. Cement sector garnered investor interest on the back of increased despatch numbers for December 2016 due to be released this week. BWCL up 5pc and FCCL 1.82pc were major performers of the sector.

Fertiliser stocks, the laggards of 2016, began on a positive note with Engro rose 2.79pc and FFC 3.04pc. “Already in a bullish frame of mind, the investors received further support from the lower than expected CPI reading for December,” said a stock dealer.


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