The stock market took a breather on Tuesday after taking a battering and plunging over 1,000 points a day ago and crept up 59 points as market players weighed the pros and cons of cabinet reshuffle.

In a surprise move, the prime minister removed finance minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and appointed Hammad Azhar as the finance minister.

Similarly, Tabish Gauhar got the additional portfolio of Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum. Expecting more such surprises, the investors took a cautious stance awaiting further clarity on the matter.

Buoyed by improved economic indicators and external inflows, the rupee appreciated to trade at pre-pandemic levels and fuelled bullish stock trading. However, the persistent political uncertainty wiped off market gains.

Earlier, trading began with a drop, however, the market succeeded in entering the positive territory in the first hour. By midday, the KSE-100 index entered into the red zone again owing to investor anxiety over expected changes in the key leadership positions.

A buying spree, emerging towards the end of the session, helped the market close with slight gains.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded an increase of 59.23 points, or 0.13%, to settle at 44,491.03 points.

Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that the market reacted passively to the changes made by the government in the finance and petroleum ministries with the KSE-100 index oscillating between -232 points and +377 points. It closed the session up by 59 points.

The last half an hour saw brisk buying and rapid recovery, although the market experienced dull activity for a good part of the session.

News reports indicated that further changes in the federal cabinet were in the offing, which would be announced later on Tuesday and finalised by Thursday.

“Investors were perturbed about the changes in key ministries and their impact thereof on policy measures taken in the past several months,” the report said.

Unity Foods rebounded to trade near its upper circuit by the end of trading, whereas tech and refinery stocks also garnered support, the report said.

Overall trading volumes fell to 339.1 million shares compared with Monday’s tally of 523.9 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs20.8 billion.

Shares of 388 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 250 stocks closed higher, 122 declined and 16 remained unchanged.

Byco Petroleum was the volume leader with 46.1 million shares, closing unchanged at Rs10.63. It was followed by TRG Pakistan with 35.8 million shares, gaining Rs0.57 to close at Rs155.01 and Unity Foods with 30.8 million shares, gaining Rs1.79 to close at Rs29.8.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs25.6 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.