Stocks hit new peaks on Saudi investment buzz, blue-chip rally

A broker looks at an index board showing the latest share prices at the Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi. — AFP/File

Stocks soared to a new record finish on Friday, buoyed by investor optimism over a potential Saudi Arabian investment in the country and a buying spree in blue-chip shares, traders said.

The Pakistan Stock Exchange’s (PSX) benchmark KSE 100-share Index gained 619.79 points, or 0.88 percent, to close at 70,909.90 points. The highest index of the day remained at 70,968.98 points while the lowest level was recorded at 70,186.93 points. The KSE-30 index increased by 282.76 points, or 1.22 percent, to 23,376.57 points .

Trading started negative on reports of Israel’s attack on Iran. However, the market soon recovered and hit an intra-day high of 70,968.98. Analysts warned that things could spiral if tensions between the two countries escalate.

“PSX reached fresh record highs led by blue-chip stocks on speculations in the earnings season amid strong financial results in the fertiliser and banking sector and IMF affirmation on successful final review on the current program,” said Ahsan Mehanti, an analyst at Arif Habib Corp.

“A surge in global crude oil prices amid geopolitical tensions, finance minister ruling out significant devaluation and rupee recovery played a catalyst role in the record close.”Traded shares increased by 35 million shares to 475.833 million shares from 440.314 million shares. The trading value dropped to Rs23.220 billion from Rs24.362 billion. Market capital expanded to Rs9.833 trillion against Rs9.786 trillion. Of 370 companies active in the session, 200 closed in green, 149 in red and 21 remained unchanged.

Nabeel Haroon, an analyst at Topline Securities, said the positivity in the market can be attributed to news that Saudi Arabia is moving closer to a potential deal to acquire a minority stake in a Pakistan mine controlled by Barrick Gold Corp reiterating recent news flow suggesting Saudi interest in investment in Pakistan.

“An increase in SBP`s reserves by $14.4 million to $8.055 billion as of April 12, despite the repayment of a one-billion-dollar Eurobond, also gave a boost to investor sentiment.” Major positive contributions to the index came from HUBC, EFERT, MEBL, BAHL and OGDC, as they cumulatively contributed 329 points to the index.

The highest increase was recorded in Unilever Pakistan Foods Limited shares, which rose by Rs200 to Rs20,900 per share, followed by Hoechst Pakistan Limited, which increased by Rs97.49 to Rs1,397.49 per share. A significant decline was noted in Rafhan Maize Products Company Limited, which fell by Rs30.10 to Rs8,350 per share, followed by Service Industries Limited, which closed lower by Rs9.50 to Rs602.50 per share.

Brokerage Arif Habib Ltd said that Thursday’s test of support at 70,000 points and subsequent rebound indicated the benchmark index determination to move back towards the weekly high at 71,000 points level.

In other significant developments, the government is reportedly accelerating the process of deregulating petroleum products. Under the new framework, regulatory bodies such as OGRA and the Competition Commission of Pakistan will play a more prominent role in ensuring product quality, availability, and fostering a competitive market environment to deter collusive practices.

“Looking ahead, weekly support is expected to range between 68.4k to 69.7k, above which targets of 73k to 74k remain viable, indicating continued positive sentiment and potential upside for the market,” the brokerage said.

Pak Refinery remained the volume leader with 49.662 million shares which closed higher by 82 paisas to Rs30.09 per share. Cnergyico PK followed it with 26.777 million shares, which closed lower by 8 paisas to Rs4.47 per share.

Other significant turnover stocks included Kohinoor Spining, B.O. Punjab, Air Link Commun, WorldCall Telecom, Treet Corp, Faysal Bank, Loads Limited and Fauji Foods Ltd. In Future Market, 307 companies recorded trading, of which 145 increased, 157 decreased and 5 remained unchanged.

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