KARACHI: Bulls tightened their grip on the stock market as supply seemed to fall short of the demand for blue-chips in the face of major positive developments. The KSE-100 index opened gap up and continued to escalate throughout the day.

The index stormed past the psychological barrier of 48,000 points and settled with gains of 512 points, or 1.08 per cent, at 48,112.

The expectation of $2.7bn receipt from the IMF, by the evening, buoyed investor sentiments. Strong numbers of current account deficit to $773m for July, concerns over the Afghan situation a little off the mind helped investors relax, regardless of the new Covid active cases on Aug 21 at 3,842 with infection ratio at 7.2pc.

The rally was led by the exploration & production sector, which was in hibernation for as long as a year with prices of scrips slipping by a third over a year ago level. OGDC gained Rs2.96 while Pakistan Petroleum Ltd sprinted higher by Rs3.62, the two together adding 102 points to the index. The trigger that set off rapid rise in E&P stock prices was the major hike of 3pc in international crude prices on Monday, reversing a prolonged decline.

On the oil & gas marketing sector, PSO price surged as its financial results were scheduled to be announced. “Technology stocks ramped up taking cue from Series B fund raising of Airlift that helped improve valuation multiples of listed entities in Tech space”, said analysts at Arif Habib Ltd. Investors continued to churn the cement stocks after uncertainty over the softer international coal prices.

The rally was spearheaded by individuals and broker proprietary trading that purchased shares worth $1.71m and $2.64m. Foreigners took the opportunity to offload long-held oil stocks of over $2m.

The trading volume increased 33pc over previous session at 396.2m. Stocks that contributed positively to the index included Meezan Bank Ltd (94 points), PPL (58 points), OGDC (46 points), Engro Corp (42 points) and Pakistan Services Ltd (35 points).

Published in Dawn, August 24th, 2021

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