The Pakistan Stock Exchange on Thursday extended gains in a topsy-turvy session and rose nearly 200 points as bulls locked horns with bears.

Investors remained optimistic owing to further appreciation of the rupee coupled with improvement in macroeconomic indicators following Saudi Arabian offer of assistance worth $4.2 billion to Pakistan.

Besides, stability in international commodity prices eased fears of increase in imported inflation among market participants, who made fresh investment.

Earlier, trading began with a spike and the benchmark KSE-100 index surpassed the 46,000-point mark in early hours. The market, however, failed to sustain the gains due to panic over technical glitches in the new trading system deployed by the Pakistan Stock Exchange.

Looming fears of suspension of trading activity, similar to the one witnessed on Wednesday, sparked uncertainty, dragging the index down. Investor sentiment revived in the second half of the session as fears subsided and they cherry-picked stocks later in the day.

At close, the benchmark KSE-100 index recorded an increase of 193.49 points, or 0.42%, to settle at 45,985.41.

Arif Habib Commodities Managing Director and CEO Ahsan Mehanti said that stocks closed higher on the back of rupee’s recovery amid Saudi Arabian inflows and finance adviser’s assurance about revival of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan programme.

“Mid-session pressure remained on concerns over trading glitches, political protests and hike in power tariff,” he said. “Saudi Arabian government’s package of $4.2 billion including cash and a deferred oil payment facility for economic support played the role of a catalyst in bullish close of the market.”

Overall trading volumes increased to 229.6 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 180.4 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs7.3 billion.

Shares of 351 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 167 stocks closed higher, 166 declined and 18 remained unchanged.

Merit Packaging (R) was the volume leader with 31.8 million shares, gaining Re1 to close at Rs2.01. It was followed by Hum Network with 22.3 million shares, gaining Rs0.22 to close at Rs6.98 and WorldCall Telecom with 10.7 million shares, losing Rs0.04 to close at Rs2.34.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs196.5 million worth of shares during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan.