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KARACHI: The stocks staged a grand comeback on Monday with the KSE-100 index recording gains of 545 points to close at 38,851.95. It represented a recovery of 1.42 per cent which follows aggregate loss of 6.98pc in last six weeks.

The market opened on a positive note and then climbed by 200 points in early trade. However, it succumbed to selling pressure on low volumes and lack of investor interest. At mid-day, after the index had hit intraday low by 145 points, a turn of tide was noticed with activity gradually picking up pace to see the index touch intra-day high by 576 points.

The investor sentiments got a boost from the news flow where the current account deficit for first eight months of current fiscal year was reported to have declined by 22pc year-on-year to $8.8 billion, reflecting plunge by 59 per cent in February over the earlier month. Moreover, Finance Minister Asad Umar’s clarity, over the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission’s visit to Pakistan in second half of April to finalise a possible bailout deal, also provided some clarity on the issue which infused confidence in the market.

Traders said the investors were waiting for such a positive trigger after an oversold market amid attractive valuations. Volumes declined 23pc to 99.5 million while the traded value decreased 3pc to Rs4.5bn. Stocks that contributed significantly to the volumes include K-Electric, Bank of Punjab, Pak Elektron, Pakistan Int. Bulk Terminal Ltd and TRG Pakistan.

Sector-wise, major contribution to the index gains was made by banks adding 230 points followed by fertiliser with 93 points and cements 70 points. Stocks that provided biggest gains were MCB Bank Ltd up 4.2pc, Habib Bank Ltd 4.2pc, Hub Power Company 2.1pc, Lucky Cement 2.4pc and Engro Corporation 1.3pc as they cumulatively contributed 226 points to the index.

On the flip side, Colgate-Palmolive was down 5pc and Searle down 1.10pc took away 18 points.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2019