Business

Karachi stocks end higher; rupee weakens

KARACHI: Karachi Stock index ended higher on Monday, buoyed by banking stocks after remaining under pressure for most of last week, traders said.

The benchmark 100-share index at the Karachi Stock Exchange closed up 0.62 percent or 208.42 points at 34,093.55.

“Renewed interest in banking stocks helped the market gain 208.42 points to close at 34,093.55,” said Mohammad Rizwan, vice president at Topline Securities Pvt Ltd. “Based on cheap multiple valuations, investors preferred to take fresh positions in banking stocks.”

MCB Bank Ltd was up by 2.1 percent to 244.47 rupees, National Bank of Pakistan rose 2.40 percent to 53.80 rupees, Bank Al-Habib Limited rose 1.75 percent to 43.50 rupees and Bank Alfalah Ltd was up by 2.63 percent to 25 rupees.

“Banks were underperforming for some time, so investors sought new positions today,” said Amreen Soorani, a senior analyst research at JS Global Capital Limited.

News that the IMF executive board successfully completed the seventh review of Pakistan’s economic performance under a three-year programme, paving the way for the immediate release of U.S.$506.4 million to Pakistan, also had a positive effect on the market.

The IMF saved Pakistan from a possible default by agreeing in September 2013 to lend it $6.8 billion over three years. The cash is being doled out in increments and could stop if Pakistan fails to institute reforms, including cracking down on tax evasion and privatising loss-making state companies.

Interest was also seen in cement stocks like D.G. Khan Cement Company Ltd, Lucky Cement Ltd and Fauji Cement Company Ltd which rose by 1.83 percent, 1.66 percent and 1.08 percent respectively.

The rupee ended weaker at 101.73/101.78 against the dollar, compared with Friday’s close of 101.70/101.75.

Overnight rates in the money market rose to 7.00 percent from Friday’s close of 6.00 percent. -Reuters

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