KARACHI: Stocks conti­nued to fire up for the fou­rth day fuelled by cement, phar­­­­maceuticals, banks, tech­nology and oil marketing companies. The KSE-100 index gained 422.17 points (1.09 per cent) and settled for the long weekend ahead at 39,258.

The benchmark started the day flashing 97 points in the positive and belying the belief by most market pundits of a profit-taking on the last trading day before holidays ahead, it continued to march forward reaching intraday high by 434 points. Investors’ sentiments were fired by the sense of index reaching the 40,000 mark and recovering all of the losses suffered during the height of Covid-19.

Powered by the news of Privatization Commission undertaking a proposal to divest 10pc shares of Oil and Gas Development Company, investors put their weight behind some major scrips on the sector. OGDC and Pak­istan Petroleum remained unimpressed. Interest was seen in the generally believed to be undervalued banking blue chips.

Automobile saw major price push in some assemblers in anticipation of revival of demand. Cement stocks continued their winning streak where Pioneer rose 3.6pc, Fauji Cement 2.6pc, Cherat 2.6pc, Gharib­wal 1.5pc and Lucky 2.2pc closed higher. Pharmaceu­ti­cal shares notched up more gains as investors looked forward to hefty net profit mainly in the next quarter. Searle, increasing by 6.9pc, Ferozsons 3.4pc, Glaxo 1.7pc, AGP 1.3pc were up. Techno­logy, which also was the lone performer during the coronavirus outbreak, edged hi­­gh­er on back of TRG, rising by 6pc, and Avanceon 3.9pc.

Foreigners sold shares wor­­­th $1.72 million while none of the local participants was a prominent buyer. Tne volume declined 28pc from 508.3m shares to 368.1m while traded value also dropped by 19pc to reach $102.2m. Major contribution to the index upside came from Lucky Cement, Searle, Hub Power, TRG and Engro Corporation, as they cumulatively added 156 points.

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2020