Pakistani stocks end up, volume at 22-mth high | Pakistan Today

Pakistani stocks end up, volume at 22-mth high

Pakistani stocks ended higher on Tuesday, led by banking shares including the Bank of Punjab and the National Bank of Pakistan on hopes of healthy corporate earnings which are due in the coming days.
The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) benchmark 100-share index rose 0.21 percent, or 26.55 points, to 12,544 points.
Turnover reached 322.47 million shares, compared with 232.85 million shares traded on Monday.
“The volume at KSE today reached a 22-month high,” said Mohammad Sohail, chief executive at Topline Securities.
BOP closed 12.35 percent higher at 9.10 rupees, and NBP rose 1.17 percent to end at 49.43 rupees.
In the currency market, the rupee ended marginally weaker at 90.86/91 to the dollar, compared with Monday’s close of 90.85/95, but dealers expect pressure to continue because of higher import payments, especially for oil.
Global oil prices stayed within sight of $120 a barrel on Tuesday as international consumers grappled with supply disruptions ranging from Iran to Sudan to the North Sea.
The rupee touched a record low of 91.28 to the dollar on Jan. 9, pressured by worries about higher payments for oil imports and the country’s overall economic health.
The State Bank of Pakistan cautioned this month that it would be a challenge to finance the country’s projected current account deficit.
The central bank’s latest monetary policy announcement kept the key policy rate flat at 12 percent for the next two months.
The current account recorded a provisional deficit of $2.633 billion in the first seven months of the 2011/12 fiscal year, compared with a deficit of $96 million in the same period last year, according to data from the State Bank of Pakistan.
The deficit is expected to widen further in the coming months because of debt repayments and a lack of external aid.
Dealers said they were also cautious after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) advised Pakistan to take immediate steps to tackle growing budget pressures and raise interest rates to contain inflation.
The IMF in February projected a widening of Pakistan’s budget deficit in the 2011/12 fiscal year to 7 percent of gross domestic product, compared with the government’s revised budget target of 4.7 percent.
In the money market, overnight rates ended higher at 11.90 percent, compared with Monday’s close of between 10.75 percent and 11.25 percent, amid lack of liquidity in the interbank market.

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