Despite initial gains, the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) ended the trading session on Tuesday on a flat note.

During the trading session, led by a rally in the pharmaceutical and energy sectors, the benchmark KSE-100 index gained nearly 778 points to hit an intra-day high of 61,237.51.

All pharmaceutical stocks rallied after government issued the notification allowing deregulation of non-essential products, said Mohammed Sohail, CEO Topline Securities, in a note during the early part of the session.

As per reports, the federal cabinet decided to deregulate non-essential drugs since their pricing had been warped by DRAP, both because of the pricing mechanism adopted by the Authority and rent- seeking by its employees.

However, the market was unable to maintain the bullish trend in the second half and at close, the benchmark index settled flat at 60,464.24 with a gain of only 4.49 points or 0.01%.

“Investors exhibited caution amidst lingering political uncertainties, opting to wait for clearer signals before adjusting their positions,” said Capital Stake in a report.

Index-heavy stocks including OGDCL, PPL and SNGPL closed in the red.

In a key development, there is intense speculation in the federal capital as to who will be selected as Pakistan’s next finance minister, the most critical portfolio that would ‘make or break’ the political fortunes of whichever party leads the next government.

Sources on condition of anonymity told Business Recorder that the choice is likely to be made with the concurrence of the ubiquitous establishment which has emerged as a major decision maker through its representation in the apex committee of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) established on 17 June 2023.

Earlier, Fitch Ratings, a global rating agency, on Monday said the close outcome of Pakistan’s election and resulting near-term political uncertainty “may complicate” the country’s efforts to secure a new financing agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

On Monday, the PSX saw a turnaround as the benchmark KSE-100 Index gained nearly 1% during trading to settle at 60,459.75, up by 586.79 points.

Globally, Asian shares were pinned below 1-1/2 month highs on Tuesday as even a larger-than-expected interest rate cut in China failed to excite investors jaded at the lack of bigger stimulus measures.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan, slipped 0.1%, pulling away from its highest level since January touched during Monday. South Korean shares fell 1%.

US Treasury yields ticked up, as trade resumed following Monday’s US holiday. S&P 500 futures were 0.2% lower.

Outside China global markets are smarting a little as traders have sharply scaled back bets on US rate cuts following high readings on producer and consumer prices.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani rupee slipped lower against the US dollar, depreciating 0.08% in the inter-bank market on Tuesday. At close, the local unit settled at 279.57, a loss of Re0.21 against the greenback, as per the State Bank of Pakistan.

Volume on the all-share index increased to 364.44 million from 261.80 million a session ago.

The value of shares rose to Rs10.93 billion from Rs9.91 billion in the previous session.

B.O.Punjab was the volume leader with 117 million shares, followed by P.I.A.C.(A) with 19.3 million shares, and K-Electric Ltd with 19.2 million shares.

Shares of 349 companies were traded on Tuesday, of which 174 registered an increase, 155 recorded a fall, while 20 remained unchanged.

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