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KARACHI: The stock market remained range-bound in directionless trading on Wednesday. The KSE-100 index clawed up by 82.06 points (0.20 per cent) and closed at 41,320.13.

The index oscillated between the intraday high and low of 119 and 137 points, respectively. The much-needed clarity on policy matters and favourable steps in the mini-budget unveiled a day ago helped stocks gain in the auto assemblers, construction and allied sector, pharmaceuticals and textile sector.

But with the external account just enough to cover two months of imports and Ashura holidays ahead, investors avoided taking fresh positions.

Investors accumulated sto­c­ks on attractive valuations after Islamabad High Court suspended the sentences handed to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sha­rif, daughter and son-in-law.

The volume declined 5pc to 166.5 million shares while traded value fell 25pc to Rs5.67 billion. K-Electric, Summit Bank, Unity Foods, Pak Elektron and TRG Pakistan came out as leaders, reflecting 44pc of the total turnover.

Sectors contributing to the day’s performance included banks, higher by 49 points, fertiliser 39 points, exploration and production 19 points, tobacco 10 points while oil and gas marketing companies took 31 points and food 22 points.

Fertiliser sector remained in the limelight for second day, where mutual funds were seen taking positions in Engro Fertiliser and Engro Corporation. In banking, Habib Bank, United Bank and Bank Al Habib closed in green while MCB and Nat­ional Bank finished in red.

In the cement sector, Lucky Cement and Maple Leaf Cement showed selling pressure, whereas DG Khan Cement retained investor interest on the back of better than anticipated financial results. Interest was witnessed in the auto sector after proposed withdrawal of restriction on non-filers to buy cars and properties. As a result, Pak Suzuki and Honda Atlas Cars closed at their upper circuit.

Major gainers were Pakis­tan Oilfields, up 1.71pc, Fauji Fertiliser 1.72pc and Habib Bank 0.83pc, adding 67.68 points.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2018