KARACHI: Following a day of bearish trading, the Pakistan bourse turned bullish on Thursday as market participants cherished the inception of work on Diamer-Bhasha Dam, lifting the benchmark index above 37,000 points.
The encouraging news made cement stocks attractive, helping the sector close the day with modest gains.
The rally was supported further by an upsurge in international crude oil prices, which sparked investors’ interest in oil sector stocks and as a result, the exploration and production sector closed entirely in the green.
The index shot up as soon as trading began and it remained in the positive zone for most of the session. A few dips were witnessed, however, investors were quick to correct them.
At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded an increase of 322.41 points, or 0.88%, to settle at 37,001.44 points.
A report of Arif Habib Limited stated that the benchmark KSE-100 index topped 37,000 points by posting a gain of 350 points during the session and ended up by 322 points.
“Overall volumes crossed the 400-million-share mark,” it said. “The cement sector rallied on the back of inauguration of work on Diamer-Bhasha Dam and optimism about the PM housing scheme.”
Pakistan Petroleum posted further gains for the third session in a row with high volumes.
Foreign investors had largely been major sellers whereas among domestic investors, insurance companies and high net worth individuals acquired the majority of the stock float.
In the banking sector, HBL showed an improvement in its stock price, however, small-cap banks remained in the limelight in terms of volumes.
The cement sector led the volumes with trading in 66.5 million shares, followed by technology firms (52.4 million) and banks (51.1 million), the report said.
JS Global analyst Maaz Mulla said bears were defeated as the market remained in the green zone.
“The benchmark index opened positive and touched a high of +350 points as institutional participation was witnessed in the main board stocks,” he said. “The market finally closed at 37,001 (+322 points).”
Overall volumes came in at 403 million shares, while traded value stood at $96 million.
JS Bank (+13%), Maple Leaf Cement (+1.6%) and Pak Elektron (+1.8%) cumulatively contributed almost 81 million shares to the total volumes.
Investors’ interest was witnessed in the cement sector where DG Khan Cement (+2.7%), Fauji Cement (+3%), Lucky Cement (+2.6%), Maple Leaf Cement (+1.6%) and Kohat Cement (+2.2%) were the major movers.
In the exploration and production sector, Pakistan Petroleum (+2.6%), Pakistan Oilfields (+0.5%) and Oil and Gas Development Company (+0.9%) gained ground as crude oil prices edged higher in the international market.
The steel sector also followed the trend where International Steels (+3%), Mughal Iron and Steel Industries (+3.4%), Aisha Steel Mills (+3.1%) and International Industries (+0.8%) closed in the green.
“Moving forward, we recommend investors to book profit on strength and wait for a dip for fresh buying,” the analyst said.
Overall, trading volumes fell to 402.6 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 328.4 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs16.1 billion.
Shares of 385 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 231 stocks closed higher, 142 declined and 12 remained unchanged.
JS Bank was the volume leader with 31.6 million shares, gaining Rs0.7 to close at Rs6.18. It was followed by Maple Leaf Cement with 24.9 million shares, gaining Rs0.51 to close at Rs31.88 and Pak Elektron with 24.1 million shares, gaining Rs0.56 to close at Rs31.02.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs403.5 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.