KARACHI: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) broke all previous records on Thursday, rising beyond 68,000 points on the strength of a strong corporate earnings outlook and investors’ growing interest in pharmaceutical stocks in the wake of the court’s decision in favor of the sector.

Shares of 320 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 162 stocks closed higher, 130 declined and 28 remained unchanged. PHOTO: FILE

The trading day started off on a high note, maintaining the bullish trend from the day before. But after an hour, the KSE-100 index fell to its intra-day low of 67,912.35 points. It gained momentum once more and continued to march north until trade ended.

The main cause of the positive activity at the exchange was the court’s withdrawal of a stay order against the pharmaceutical industry’s deregulation of maximum retail pricing.

The announcement that Saudi Arabia plans to invest up to $1 billion in the Reko Diq copper and gold mine also helped to improve market mood.

With gains of more than 650 points, the index closed above 68,000 at a new all-time high, having spent the most of the day in the green.

According to MD of Arif Habib Corp. Ahsan Mehanti, “stocks closed at an all-time high on a strong earnings outlook.”

“The bullish close in the earnings season at the PSX was sparked by anticipated policy easing by the State Bank, a possible $1 billion Saudi Reko Diq deal next month, OGDC and PPL share offerings, and rising global crude oil prices.” The benchmark KSE-100 index closed at 68,416.78, up 660.75 points, or 0.98%, from the previous close.

“Investor confidence is based on the resumption of privatization, prioritizing entities with losses to improve the government’s fiscal position,” stated Alpha Beta Core CEO Khurram Schehzad in a statement. The external situation is further supported by expectations that the final IMF tranche will be received in the upcoming week.

According to Topline Securities’ assessment, the stock exchange experienced its second straight positive session.

The announcement that the Lahore High Court had ruled in favor of the pharmaceutical industry on April 2, 2024, and that the stay order against the deregulation of maximum retail pricing of medications had been dismissed, sparked investor interest in the pharmaceutical sector.

“Several businesses in the industry made progress toward closing at their individual upper bounds.”

Meezan Bank, Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC), Dawood Hercules Corporation, Systems Limited, and Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) made significant positive contributions to the index, totaling 303 points.

According to Topline, Pak Elektron reported end-of-year results at Rs0.44 for 4QCY23 and Rs1.55 for CY23, in line with market estimates for profits per share (EPS).

Arif Habib Limited (AHL) reported in its assessment that during a shorter trading week, the stock market rose 2% on a weekly basis and surpassed 68,000.

It stated that Pakistan is now entering the vacation season, with Friday off and only Monday and Tuesday scheduled for work the following week. AHL continued, “The current draw on liquidity remains at 70,000.”

Muhammad Shuja Qureshi, an analyst at JS Global, stated that the market finished at yet another record high point.

He added that the Lahore High Court’s revocation of the decision prohibiting the deregulation of the maximum retail prices of non-essential pharmaceuticals caused pharmaceutical stocks to lead the surge.

Ghandhara Automobiles and National Refinery closed at its higher locks, indicating that buying was also observed in the oil and gas, auto, and refinery sectors. Yet, there was profit-taking in steel and cement equities.

The analyst continued, “Investors are advised to view dips as an opportunity to accumulate value stocks.”

Compared to Wednesday’s total of 361.8 million shares, overall trading volumes jumped to 388.8 million shares. Rs17.9 billion worth of shares were traded during the day.

334 firms’ shares were exchanged. Among these, 22 stocks were unchanged, 108 fell, and 204 stocks closed up.

With 47.2 million shares traded, Pakistan International Airlines Corp. led the volume and closed at Rs26.19, up Rs0.97. Pakistan Petroleum, with 21.2 million shares, gained Rs2.1 to settle at Rs110.17, and Cnergyico PK, with 29.7 million shares, gained Rs0.34 to close at Rs4.60.

According to the NCCPL, shares valued at Rs296.9 million were net purchases made by foreign investors.