KARACHI:

The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) hit a new all-time high of 69,711 points on Monday, surging by 1.9%  to continue its record-breaking spree on the second working day.

The market has maintained its momentum over economic optimism in the wake of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s maiden visit to Saudi Arabia and Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb’s preparations to visit Washington next week to formally apply for a new IMF loan program.

The benchmark KSE 100-Index closed at 69,620 points, clipping the intra-day high gains to 1,203 points or 1.76% at the end of the session.

The market has gained 8.5% or 5,476 points since the February 8 elections and the subsequent formation of a coalition government in the Centre.

Investors have continued to buy mainly in the energy and banking sector in the hope that the issues of the energy crisis and the circular debt will be resolved. The surge in buying of banking stocks can be attributed to record-breaking earnings by banks.

While talking to The Express Tribune, Arif Habib Limited Head of Research Tahir Abbas said the market has maintained outstanding performance on expectations that the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would sign new investment agreements worth billions of dollars with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman during the ongoing visit.

The new investment treaties may include Reko Diq and refinery projects in Pakistan, potentially boosting foreign investment to new levels in local projects after remaining sluggish for the past many years, anticipated Abbas.

Besides, Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb is scheduled to formally approach the IMF to secure a new loan programme at the Fund’s annual meeting being held in Washington on April 14-15, 2024.

The optimism that the next loan package would ensure repaying maturing foreign debts on time and that the package would allow the nation to gradually ramp up economic activities spurred the investors to pour in new capital at PSX.

Abbas said despite the record-breaking spree in the benchmark KSE-100 Index in recent times, share prices are yet to reach their previous record-high levels, offering extended value buying to investors.

The expert anticipated the market would maintain an upward trend on optimism over the acquisition of the new IMF package and stocks still hovering below their historically high levels.

“We have estimated the PSX benchmark index reaching 81,000 points by the end of December 2024,” he said.



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