KARACHI: Stock market staged a grand relief rally in early session on Friday as bulls tossed the KSE-100 index up to intraday high by 917 points, with closing seen at trimmed gains of 480.61 points (1.31 per cent) at 37,292.47.

Traders did not quite mourn the removal of Finance Minister Asad Umar and hoped that the new economic team would be able to lead the country out of current economic malaise. Investors flocked to take entry into shares across the sectors — from banks to steel.

But as the initial euphoria died down and grim realities of International Monetary Fund bailout conditions; decision by the Financial Action Task Force and fear of MSCI index degrade along with the upcoming budget sank in, investors decided to booking profit and cede much of the gains in the second session.

Major market players avoided a comment on the change at the top of finance ministry, attributing the index upside to other positives, such as attractive valuations and the reversal of negative tide in banking with the State Bank issuing clarification regarding implementation of treasury single account and that a decision would be taken after consultation with all stakeholders. Resultantly, banks were the top gainers, adding 188 points to the index.

Selective buying by investors continued throughout the day, who took fresh positions in sectors they thought could be the major beneficiary of the next budget. Sui Northern Gas, which is due to release financial results over the weekend, saw the scrip trade near its upper circuit.

The volume declined 18pc to 177 million shares, from 216m shares while traded value increased by 28pc to reach $46.9m as against $36.6m.

Major contribution to the index upside came from MCB, increasing by 4pc, Habib Bank 2.66pc, Fauji Fertiliser 2.47pc, Pakistan Petroleum 1.74pc and Nestle Pakistan 4.78pc, adding 224 points. On the flip side, Mari Petroleum, down 1.22pc, IGI Holdings 4.93pc and Meezan Bank 1.05pc took away 20 points.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2019