Bulls maintained their hold over the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Friday as the benchmark KSE-100 index extended the rally for a second consecutive session and closed above the 44,800-point mark.

Optimistic investors continued to cherry-pick stocks at attractive prices and a surge in global equity and commodity markets lent further support to the local market. A spike in international oil prices, which rose past $85 per barrel, fuelled buying activity in the exploration and production sector at the Pakistan bourse.

A deceleration in foreign outflows coupled with timely repayment of $1 billion in foreign debt boosted investor confidence. Partial recovery of the rupee against the greenback further aided investor spirits.

The first half of Friday’s trading session kicked off on a volatile note as bears and bulls locked horns and the KSE-100 index traded on both sides of the fence in early hours.

Towards the end, the bulls emerged victorious and the first half closed with a 250-point gain. Investors helped extend the rally in the second half by making fresh investment and lifted the market further upwards.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded an increase of 487.85 points, or 1.1%, to settle at 44,821.53.

JS Global analyst Neelum Naz said that the benchmark index had a second consecutive positive session as it closed at 44,822, posting a gain of 488 points.

 “The market sustaining its bullish momentum is a healthy sign,” the analyst said, adding “going forward, the market may continue its upward journey. Investors are, therefore, advised to view any dip as a buying opportunity across all sectors.”

Overall trading volumes decreased to 334.3 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 388.6 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs11.8 billion.

Shares of 356 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 226 stocks closed higher, 116 declined and 14 remained unchanged.

Service Fabrics was the volume leader with 34.3 million shares, gaining Rs0.77 to close at Rs11.71. It was followed by Unity Foods with 26.5 million shares, gaining Rs1.79 to close at Rs30.29 and WorldCall Telecom with 25.5 million shares, losing Rs0.04 to close at Rs2.39.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs934.18 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.