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KARACHI: Stocks extended gains for the second day with the index recovering another 133.95 points (0.34 per cent), underpinned by value hunting in the banking and fertiliser stocks. The benchmark settled at 39,586.76 points.

The local bourse started off on a negative note as investors tracked the political fallout of the episode of bomb blast in Peshawar. The heavy foreign selling on Monday also kept investors cautious.

The figures released by the National Clearing Company indicated further outflow of $6.2 million on Wednesday, but much of the foreign asset managers’ sell-off was absorbed by the Insurance companies who made net purchases of stock worth $4.1m.

The index touched intraday low by 243 points, but value investors stepped in to take fresh positions in selected blue-chip scrips, which propelled the index to intraday high by 609 points. The benchmark briefly tested intraday high of 40,058.98 points, but could not sustain the 40,000 level due to selling in DG Khan Cement, Amreli Steels, Habib Bank and United Bank.

On the political front, analysts were commenting that the plot thickens as the noose had started to tighten around the necks of leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party. Investors were also hesitant to enter the market as the date of return of former PM Nawaz Sharif and his daughter nears.

Sectors that contributed to the index gains included fertilizer, higher by 89 points, banks 55 points, power 31 points, auto 16 points while food, lower by 78 points and tobacco 10 points. Fertilisers remained in the limelight due to declining inventory wher­eas expectation of interest rate hike ahead of upcoming monetary policy led to interest in banking sector.

Scrip-wise, major contribution upside came from Engro Corporation, up 3.38pc, Bank Al Habib 2.75pc, Bank Alfalah 4.50pc, Lucky Cement 1.43pc and Fauji Fertiliser 1.30pc which collectively added 150 points. On the flip side, Nestle Pakistan, down 4.94pc, Habib Bank 1.69pc and United Bank 1.58pc took away 138 points.

Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2018