A topsy-turvy session at the Pakistan Stock Exchange ended on a positive note on Friday as the benchmark index managed to overcome bearish sentiment in cautious trading.

Market expectations of better financial results in key sectors lent support to the bourse and aided its uptrend.

The benchmark KSE-100 index opened up and continued to rise during the short trading day. However, selling pressure emerged by midday, which wiped off most of the gains. Nevertheless, bulls managed to hold on to their positions.

The market faced selling pressure at regular intervals amid rising coronavirus cases in the country, news reports of protests by TLP activists and cabinet reshuffle. Investors remained cautious.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded an increase of 75.45 points, or 0.17%, to settle at 45,305.63 points.

Arif Habib Limited, in its report, stated that the market inched up on the brink of earnings season, with an increase of 241 points during the session.

Financial results of important companies due in the coming week kept investor interest alive, although trading volumes remained thin.

Cyclical stocks including cement, steel and auto performed relatively better. Small-caps were favoured by investors in comparison with blue chips, whereby Ghani Global Holdings, which fell on Thursday, bounced back on Friday.

On the other hand, Telecard Limited continued to move upwards despite a meteoric rise in the stock in the recent past.

Overall trading volumes stood at 173.5 million shares, down 50% day-on-day with investor concentration in technology stocks.

Sectors contributing to the performance included banks (+27 points), technology (+19 points), fertiliser (+18 points), auto (+13 points) and auto parts (+10 points).

Individually, stocks that contributed positively to the index included Engro Fertilisers (+16 points), TRG Pakistan (+15 points), HBL (+9 points), Hubco (+7 points) and Pak Suzuki Motor Company (+7 points).

Stocks that contributed negatively were Pakistan Tobacco Company (-11 points), DG Khan Cement (-7 points), Fauji Cement (-5 points), Pakistan Petroleum (-5 points) and Fauji Fertiliser Bin Qasim (-4 points).

JS Global analyst Danish Ladhani said after touching intra-day high of 45,471, the KSE-100 slid to close the session at 45,305, posting a meagre gain of 75 points.

Total traded volume during the short trading day was recorded at 174 million shares where top contributors were Telecard Limited (+1.9%), Ghani Global Holdings (+7.5%), TRG Pakistan (+0.9%), WorldCall Telecom (0%) and Ghani Global Glass (+2.3%).

Mixed sentiment was seen in the banking sector where UBL (-0.2%) lost value while HBL (+0.5%) gained ground.

“We expect the market to remain volatile ahead and recommend investors to book profits on the higher side and wait for any sharp dips to accumulate value stocks, mainly in cement and steel sectors,” the analyst said.

Overall trading volumes nosedived to 173.5 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 347.7 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs8.7 billion.

Shares of 366 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 207 stocks closed higher, 139 declined and 20 remained unchanged.

Ghani Global Holdings was the volume leader with 21.5 million shares, gaining Rs2.35 to close at Rs33.71. It was followed by Telecard Limited with 21.4 million shares, gaining Rs0.24 to close at Rs12.61 and TRG Pakistan with 16.2 million shares, gaining Rs1.43 to close at Rs165.19.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs170.9 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.