KARACHI: Stocks staged rally on Tuesday as investors hurried to build fresh positions, lest they miss out on an opportunity to buy at lower prices.

Several positive developments encouraged participants to put their money on a further upsurge in the next two trading days before the six-day Eid holidays.

The KSE-100 index recovered all of the earlier day’s losses as it surged by 354 points (one per cent) and wound up at 34,185. The benchmark after opening in the positive galloped to intraday high by 546 points, before institutional profit taking set in.

Pharmaceutical sector grabbed the spotlight, supported by promising initial results of clinical trials of new COVID-19 vaccines. AGP hit the upper circuit while Searle Company, rising by 4.4pc and GlaxoSmithKline 3.6pc also closed in green. Ferozsons edged up by 0.8pc, adding to over 40pc it has gained in about a week.

The market rallied in the oil chain as it rose in sync with the regional bourses which were up as oil prices jumped due to demand picking-up amidst supply cuts. Exploration and production, oil marketing companies and refinery sectors were the beneficiaries. Among E&Ps, Oil and Gas Development Company, up 3.8pc, PPakistan Petroleum 2.7pc and Pakistan Oilfields 1.3pc were the major movers.

On the news front, Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said the government would not impose new tax in the budget for 2020-21. Cement sector continued to remain under pressure as investors anticipated lower despatch numbers for May due to Ramazan and upcoming Eid holidays. Banking also showed some signs of recovery, however, price gains were muted.

Foreigners sold equity worth $2.94 million. Banks, brokers and insurance companies added stocks to their portfolio. The volume declined 6pc to 247.8m shares, from 261.9m while traded value rose by a significant 44pc to $65.2m.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2020