Bulls dominated the stock market for the third consecutive session on Friday and propelled the benchmark KSE-100 index above the 46,000-point barrier.

Strong economic cues such as consistent appreciation of the rupee against the US dollar helped extend the rally at the bourse.

Besides, Saudi Arabia’s financial assistance worth $4.2 billion to Pakistan amid renewed expectations of resumption of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan programme bolstered the optimism among market participants.

Moreover, investor confidence improved on the back of strong quarter-end financial results by major companies, which encouraged them to take fresh positions.

First half of the trading session kicked off with a short-lived spike as investors cherry-picked stocks in early hours. The index, however, recorded a steady decline towards the end of first half, which closed with a loss of 130 points.

The KSE-100 index rallied in the second half, erased all the losses and breached the 46,000-point barrier.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded an increase of 238.62 points, or 0.52%, to settle at 46,184.71.

Arif Habib Commodities Managing Director and CEO Ahsan Mehanti, in a report, said that the bullish trend continued on rupee’s gains and expectations of resumption of the IMF programme.

“Strong financial results, status quo in fiscal deficit for Jul-Aug 2021 at 0.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) and likely resolution of Pakistan Stock Exchange’s trading system glitches played the role of catalysts in the bullish close,” he said.

JS Global analyst Neelam Naz said that the KSE-100 index finally breached the psychological level of 46,000 and closed at 46,185 points.

“The market opened positive and hit intra-day high of 46,292 points,” she said. “Major investor interest was seen in the cement sector.”

Traded volume stood at 270 million shares with Hum Network (+1.4%), Azgard Nine (-1.8%), WorldCall Telecom (+1.3%), The Bank of Punjab (+2.1%) and TRG Pakistan (-5.7%) being the highest contributors to the volume.

“Going forward, we recommend investors to accumulate blue-chip stocks on dips,” the analyst said.

Overall trading volumes increased to 270.4 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 229.6 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs9.7 billion.

Shares of 361 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 200 stocks closed higher, 146 declined and 15 remained unchanged.

Hum Network was the volume leader with 27.9 million shares, gaining Rs0.1 to close at Rs7.08. It was followed by Merit Packaging (R) with 27 million shares, closing unchanged at Rs2.01 and Azgard Nine with 17.2 million shares, losing Rs0.29 to close at Rs16.07.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs85.13 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.