Market watch: With interest in cement and steel, KSE-100 rises nearly 1,000 points

KARACHI: The KSE-100 index surged close to 1,000 points on Wednesday as investors developed interest and resorted to significant buying in cement, steel and financial stocks exactly a week ahead of general elections in the country.

With the sharp gain, the benchmark index neared the 40,900-point mark. So far, it had been the largest rise in the index in the current month.

In the morning, the market got off to a positive start and rose around 500 points in the first hour of trading. After experiencing dips at regular intervals, the market ended the day at a substantially higher level.

Earlier this week, a hefty 5.3% depreciation in the value of the rupee had weakened investor sentiments, but they now seemed to have recovered, which was reflected in the buying spree at the bourse on Wednesday.

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Automobile, cement, financial, fertiliser and exploration and production stocks drew investor interest with many of them recording gains during the day.

At close, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index recorded an increase of 964.92 points or 2.42% to settle at 40,897.90.

Elixir Securities’ analyst Murtaza Jafar said Pakistan equities were rock solid at 40,898 points as momentum in steel and cement sectors boosted confidence of investors.

Mid-day buying in financial stocks alone contributed 240 points to the day’s rise, making it the second biggest daily gain for calendar year 2018, he said.

“Going forward, investors are expected to closely monitor the electoral process next week,” Jafar said.

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“A timely and smooth conclusion will prove greatly positive for the sentiments as that will not only mark the completion of full five-year term of the second democratic government, but will set another precedent for the upcoming government to remain in power for the next five years.”

Overall, trading volumes increased to 247.8 million shares compared with Tuesday’s tally of 142 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs8.6 billion.

Shares of 378 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 307 stocks closed higher, 52 declined while 19 remained unchanged.

Pakistan International Bulk Terminal (R) was the volume leader with 19.6 million shares, closing unchanged at Rs0.5. It was followed by Engro Polymer with 10.3 million shares, gaining Rs1.4 to close at Rs30.04 and Fauji Cement with 10.02 million shares, gaining Rs0.89 to close at Rs20.93.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs518.7 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.

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