KARACHI: Karachi stocks hit an all-time high Monday following Nawaz Sharif's strong victory in landmark elections, which revived hopes the steel tycoon's pro-business agenda could spark an economic revival.
The benchmark index of top 100 shares rose 1.6 per cent to 20,232 points in early trade, surpassing the 20,000 mark for the first time, after Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) emerged with a clear lead over its rivals.
The election results defied analysts' predictions of a weak parliament as the PML-N looked able to form a government without the help of its traditional rival the Pakistan Peoples Party and new challenger Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf.
“We were fearing a hung parliament and thus a weaker and unstable government would come into power as a result of the elections,” said Mohammad Sohail, the chief of Topline Securities, a leading brokerage house in Karachi.
Investors are hopeful of an economic revival under Sharif, whose pro-business policies earned him a good reputation among traders and industrialists during his two previous tenures in the 1990s.
“He liberalised the economy by launching a privatisation programme and liberalised the financial sector allowing foreign investors to step into Pakistani capital markets,” Sohail said.
Though his privatisation agenda was never fully implemented, Sharif has promised in early interviews to pick up where he left off.