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A stockbroker talks on phones as he monitors share prices during a trading session at the Karachi Stock Exchange. — Photo by AFP

KARACHI: Stocks roared ahead at the Karachi Stock Exchange with the KSE-100 index quite easily breaking the psychological barrier of 17,000 on Thursday. The benchmark settled at 17,056.36 points, representing gain of 147.69 points.

The market capitalisation-based KSE-30 index jumped 125.28 points to 13,931.66 points.

Figures released by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan showed that mutual funds were major buyers with net purchases worth $6.03 million. Foreign investors sold equity in the net sum of $0.76 million.

Turnover galloped to 271 million shares on Thursday, against 218 million shares traded the earlier day with the trading value increasing to Rs6.9 billion, from Rs5.5 billion.

Market capitalisation was up to Rs4.263 trillion, from Rs4.223 trillion.

In all, 353 stocks came up for trading with 205 gainers; 123 losers and 25 ending at the previous values.

Equity dealer, Samar Iqbal at Topline Securities observed that the Karachi bourse managed to close above psychological mark of 17,000.

Institutional buying and good corporate results helped equity prices to improve by approximately one per cent.

More than expected earnings announcement by Engro Foods helped the market sentiment.

Mid cap cement stocks performed well as investors expecting healthy profits for the quarter ending December.

Ahsan Mehanti at Arif Habib Corp stated that the stocks had closed at record high amid rising trades in the earnings announcements session at KSE after SBP slashed yield on T-bills.

Other reasons listed for the bullish trend at the market were investor hopes for policy rate cut in monetary announcement due next month, rising local cement prices, easing political uncertainty and renewed foreign interest in Pakistani equities.

Hasnain Asghar Ali at Escorts Capital commented that fresh inflows in E&P stocks took along the benchmark for yet another historic session.

The heavy weight E&P stocks led the bullish run and were well supported by the cement and textiles. Also better than expected earnings of EFood invited renewed buying interest as the company reported record growth in earnings.

The news flows regarding Secondary Public Offering of PPL, settlement of property dispute with Etisalaat and issuance of 3G license stayed the driving factor for the local equities.

Judicial hearings, law and order concerns and volatility on political front continued to suggest caution.

On Thursday’s trading, Unilever Food posted the highest gain for the day, in the sum of Rs105 to Rs3905 and was followed by Bata (Pak) which rose by Rs41.05 to Rs1355.

On the other side, UniLever Pak posted the heaviest loss of Rs35.16 to Rs9914.83 and Sanofi-Aventis Pak declined by Rs9 to Rs316.

The 10-top active list was again dominated by the sideboard items. Fauji Cement rose by 32 paisa to Rs7.80 on a huge volume of 60m shares.

It was followed by Maple Leaf Cement, which hit the ‘upper circuit’ with a gain of Re1 to end at Rs17.86 on 23m shares.

Byco Petroleum added 45 paisa to close at Rs14.37 on 20m shares; Jah.Sidd.Co was up by19 paisa to s16.53 on 14m shares; Fatima Fertilizer Company edged higher by 8 paisa to Rs25.88 on13m shares; PTCL was up by 46 paisa to Rs17.82 on12m shares; Lafarge Pakistan was firm by 16 paisa to Rs5.46 on 8m shares; Engro Foods, which declared financial figures on Thursday, was greeted warmly by investors with the price of stock jumping by Rs3.83 to Rs100.82.

TRG was the only scrip among the volume leaders which shed 7 paisa to s7.01 on 6m shares and KESC added 19 paisa to its overnight value and closed at Rs5.84 on 6m shares.