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KARACHI: Heavily discounted stock prices across all sectors enticed individual and institutional investors to take a plunge and begin cherry-picking, which saw the KSE-100 index close with a gain of 154.33 points (0.42 per cent) at 39,452.81.

The market kicked off to a depressing start as intensified foreign selling of equity worth $9.7 million together with mutual funds’ net sale of $3.5m, pulled the index deeper in the red to intraday low by 727 points.

However as long-term local investors with risk appetite took heart to build positions in the index-heavy banking and exploration and production sectors, the benchmark recouped losses and closed in the positive territory.

Some believed that the bears were exhausted after pulling the index down by 996 points a day earlier, leading to the accumulated loss of 2,709 points in the last seven trading sessions.

Other market gurus did not fathom that the worst was over. On the political arena, heated atmosphere could be felt as the former PM Nawaz Sharif and his daughter expressed their intention to return to the country on Friday creating jitters as both, sentenced to prison in Avenfield properties case last week, have been placed on the exit control list.

However, investors’ confidence was boosted by the press conference from media wing of armed forces in the second half regarding the security plan for timely elections. Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan also asked the exchange to remove Hussain Lawai from chairmanship of its Board.

Sectors contributing to the day’s performance included banks, higher by 100 points, exploration and production 98 points, oil and gas marketing companies 27 points. On the other hand, autos went lower by 25 points, and fertiliser 20 points.

Leading gainers among stocks were Habib Bank, up 2.91pc, Pakistan Petroleum 2.83pc, Oil and Gas Development Company 1.81pc, Pakistan Oilfields 1.28pc and United Bank 1.13pc as they cumulatively contributed 196 points to the index.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2018