Bulls regained control of the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Thursday as the benchmark KSE-100 index snapped a two-day bear run and rose 213 points, aided by a decline in international coal prices.
An overnight dip in global coal prices, which had risen to an all-time high a day ago, proved to be a sigh of relief for local investors and helped revive their interest in cement sector stocks.
A slight recovery in the rupee value compared to the US dollar lent further support to the market, however, selling pressure in oil and automobile sectors capped gains.
Earlier, trading kicked off positively and the KSE-100 index soared close to the 45,000-point barrier after midday. Investors resorted to profit-booking near the end of the session, which wiped off some of the gains. Still, the market managed to close above 44,500 points.
At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded an increase of 212.82 points, or 0.48%, to settle at 44,586.05.
Arif Habib Limited, in its report, said that the drop in coal prices primarily reversed the selling tide in the cement sector, which led the index from the front.
However, the overnight dent in international oil prices caused downward pressure in exploration and production sector stocks.
The positive movement of the KSE-100 index also propelled steel sector stocks where investors considered taking positions, it said. Overall, the index added a total of 574 points during the session and closed up by 213 points.
The cement sector stole the limelight, where Maple Leaf Cement enjoyed most of the trading volume, besides hitting its upper circuit, followed by DG Khan Cement.
Selling pressure emerged afterwards, which brought the stock price of Maple Leaf Cement down from the upper circuit by the end of session.
Besides cement, stocks of banking and refinery sectors attracted investors, it said.
JS Global analyst Neelum Naz said that the benchmark index made another attempt to cross the 45,000-point level through a recovery in cyclical sectors.
However, selling pressure soon kicked in and the market slid from its intra-day high of 44,947 points and closed at 44,586, up 213 points.
The increase in cut-off yields in the auction of three and six-month T-bills dampened investor confidence as it hinted at further monetary tightening, she said.
“The market needs to overcome the 45,300 mark at close to come out of the ongoing bearish spell,” the analyst said.
“Investors are, therefore, advised to exercise caution until this level is overcome and build exposure in the market on major dips across the board, keeping the medium-term outlook in mind.”
Overall trading volumes increased to 296 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 252.8 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs10.5 billion.
Shares of 558 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 311 stocks closed higher, 227 declined and 20 remained unchanged.
WorldCall Telecom was the volume leader with 58 million shares, losing Rs0.15 to close at Rs2.54. It was followed by Telecard Limited with 37 million shares, gaining Rs0.66 to close at Rs19.26 and Treet Corp with 12.9 million shares, gaining Rs3.76 to close at Rs53.97.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs580.8 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.