Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) Thursday ended higher led by investors'' interest in select scrips. The benchmark KSE-100 index gained 41.54 points to close at 36,541 points compared to 36,499 points Wednesday. Ahsan Mehanti, analyst at Arif Habib, said that a positive close was witnessed at PSX led by select oil and fertiliser scrips after WTI crude prices rose near to $50 per barrel. "Leverage stocks led the pre-budget rally amid concerns on likely new taxes on corporate sector and falling banking spreads," he added. Sentiments remained upbeat on federal budget focus on CPEC projects and expected MSCI reclassifications next month played a catalytic role in positive close, he said. Ahmed Saeed Khan of JS Research said that volatility prevailed in Thursday''s session as the index made an intraday high of 184 points and a low of 37 points to close at 36,541 points level, up 0.11 percent. He said EFOODS (+4.08 percent) and ENGRO (+1.54 percent) were the major index movers that rallied on the back of rumour that the selling price finalised for the sale of EFOODS to Friesland Campina has been finalised on a higher price than initially expected. On the other hand, the banking sector remained under pressure on the back of SBP''s cut in policy rate to 5.75 percent to boost growth. Top laggards of the aforementioned sector today were MCB (-0.9 percent) and HBL (-0.5 percent), he added. Similarly, global crude oil prices that reached six-month high failed to entice investors as profit-taking was witnessed across the oil sector, where major laggards of the sector today were MARI (-0.5 percent) and BYCO (-3.13 percent), he maintained. Trading took place in 384 scrips, of which 130 closed positive, 227 negative and that of some 27 remained unchanged. Trading volume decreased by 21 percent to 213 million shares on Thursday compared to 269 million on Wednesday. Market capitalisation surged to Rs 6.457 trillion, up Rs 18 billion. K-Electric Ltd, Jah. Sid. Co, Power Cement Ltd, Byco Petroleum and Pace (Pak) Ltd were leading scrips with trading shares of 27.8 million, 13 million, 11.44 million, 8.68 million and 8.28 million, respectively. Nestle Pak and Philips Morris were the top gainers with Rs 350.00 and Rs 79.25 to close at Rs 7,350.00 and Rs 1,674.25, respectively. Rafhan Maize and Hinopak Motors were the top losers with Rs 96.15 and Rs 36.95 to close at Rs 8,790.00 and Rs 1,074.21, respectively. Analysts at Topline said that major stocks including NESTLE, ENGRO and EFOODs were up 2-5 percent as they contributed around 68 points to index increase. Cement sector remained under pressure on likely increase in Federal Excise Duty (FED) in upcoming budget. Major scrips - Lucky Cement (LUCK), Maple Leaf Cement (MLCF) and Fauji Cement (FCCL) were down 0.5-2 percent, they added.