KARACHI, Dec 20: Stocks on Monday managed to finish modestly higher under the lead of some blue chips but instances of profit-taking at the inflated levels were not wanting, which could lead to a major shake-out any day.

The KSE 100-share index finished with clipped gains of 10.28 points at 5,852.87 as compared to 5,842.59 at the last weekend, reflecting the strength of some leading base shares.

"Owing to a massive rise in investment on the carryover market, the market is literally standing on a volcano," analysts fear Tuesday's session could be very crucial for its future direction as punters are poised for a big catch at the current inflated levels and for good reasons too.

"The index should shed 50 to 60 points even tomorrow, which will restore its urge to seek further level to its next target," some others said. "Apart from negative signals from the political front in the backdrop of anti-uniform protest everything on the corporate front appears to be quite in order."

Some leading brokers predict technical corrections here and there notwithstanding, the market is expected to maintain its upward drive in the coming weeks also as year-end buying is still to manifest in a big way at least on selected counters.

Some of the banks and financial institutions are still short of their year-end buying target and will remain active never allowing market to fall below the current levels, they said.

The market is expected to absorb fallout of the rolling of positions from the matured December settlements to the January contracts during the current week they said. "The switch over could be orderly".

The broader market, however, performed credibly on strong institutional support and absorbed bulk of the selling originating from the badla market. Plus signs held a fair lead over the minus, leading gainers being AKD Securities, Lakson Tobacco, Atlas Honda, Island Textiles and Bhanero Textiles, up by Rs9.55 to Rs18.35.

Other good gainers included Idus Dyeing, Sana Industries after a cash dividend and bonus shares at the rate of 25 per cent, JWD Sugar, Goodluck Industries, HinoPak, and Dawood Lawrence, which posted gains ranging from Rs4 to Rs6.

Losers were led by Aventis, Artistic Denim, IGI, Ferozsons Lab, Parke-Davis and Siemens Pakistan, off Rs4 to Rs10.85. Others fell fractionally. Trading volume further shrank to 278m shares from the weekend's 354m shares owing to the absence of leading sellers but gainers maintained a fair lead over the losers at 203 to 193, with 57 shares holding on to the last levels.

OGDC topped the list of actives, up 40 paisa at Rs67.40 on 37m shares followed by Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim, steady 20 paisa at Rs28.70 on 33m shares, MCB, higher by Rs1.10 at Rs56.15 on 29m shares, National Bank, firm by five paisa at Rs76.85 on 14m shares and Fauji Cement, up 40 paisa at Rs16.15 on 14m shares.

Other actives included PSO, up Rs1.95 on 13m shares, Askari Bank, off Rs1.75 on 11m shares, PTCL, lower 25 paisa on 10m shares, Pakistan Oilfields, easy 45 paisa on 8m shares and PICIC Growth Fund, off 15 paisa on 8m shares.

FORWARD COUNTER: PPL came in for active support and rose Rs2.19 at Rs129.99 on 26m shares followed by Nishat Mills, higher Rs1.20 at Rs70.70 on 16m shares, Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim, up 22 paisa at Rs28.72 and PSO, higher by Rs1.35 at Rs276.50 on 3.104m shares.

DEFAULTER COS: Crescent-Standard Bank, topped the list of actives, higher by Rs1.50 at Rs12.50 on 3.362m shares followed by Dawood Fibre, up Rs1.40 at 6.75 on 0.140m shares and Asset Bank, lower 15 paisa at Rs5.70 on 0.103m shares. Others were fractionally traded but on the higher side.

DIVIDEND: Sana Industries, cash 25 per cent, bonus shares of an identical amount, Saleem Denim, nil.

BOARD MEETINGS: Ansari Sugar Mills, Sakrand Sugar, Dawood Lawrence, on Dec 23, Ahmed Hassan Textiles, Ghazi Fabrics, Aruj Garments and Nakshbandi Industries, on Dec 24.

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