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KARACHI: Stocks climbed on last trading day of the week with the KSE-100 index recording gains of 550.23 points (1.50 per cent) to close at 37,337.87.

Market started out dull, opening in the red by 46 points and remained volatile in the first half with choppy trades. But the index staged a major rally in the second half mainly on reports of the Securities and Exchange Commission policy board giving approval of a market bailout fund with contributions from state-owned institutions. The formation of stock market support fund, which was vehemently denied by the regulator, was meant to avoid the danger of being downgraded to the MSCI Frontier Market from emerging in the next review due in June.

More confidence was provided to the investors by reports that Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund had concluded the talks for the bailout programme and agreed to move forward towards staff level agreement to finalise the memorandum of economic and financial policies.

Insurance companies and retail investors started to take fresh positions right from the start of second session, which propelled the index to intraday high by 633 points. Figures released by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan showed individuals as major buyers of equity worth $2.80 million while foreigners showed no interest with minor sale of $0.45m.

The volume soared 32pc to 189.4m shares, from 143.8m while traded value also rose by 21pc to $37.8m. Sector-wise, cement contributed 100 points as stocks had reached attractive values following hammering in the previous two sessions. The decline in international coal prices further garnered investors’ interest in the sector’s shares.

Scrip-wise, lead gainers were Lucky Cement, up 5pc, Pakistan State Oil 4.7pc, Habib Bank 1.8pc, Bank Al Habib 2.1pc, Engro Corpo­ra­tion 1.2pc, DG Khan Cement 5pc and Fauji Fertiliser 1pc which collectively contributed 204 points to the index.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2019