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Pakistan Stock Exchange Soars to Historic Peak, Reaching 67,756 Points

The Pakistan Stock Exchange soared to yet another record high on Wednesday, buoyed by positive economic indicators suggesting a potential easing of monetary policy due to a decline in inflation. The benchmark KSE-100 index closed at 67,756.03, marking a substantial increase of 869.77 points or 1.30%.

Investor interest was particularly drawn to the cyclic sector, with significant investments flowing into cement and steel companies following reports of increased local and international cement dispatches in March. Additionally, sectors such as transport, technology, communication, and commercial banking remained attractive to investors.

Optimism in the market was further fueled by the government’s privatization plans, particularly the proposed sale of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). There is a prevailing belief that privatization could lead to improved profitability and efficiency for these companies.

In a notable move, the Privatization Commission invited expressions of interest for the sale of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), which contributed to market optimism.

Mohammed Sohail, CEO of Topline Securities, noted a growing confidence in the market, citing progress on privatization and increased foreign portfolio investment in government securities. He also highlighted expectations of a rate cut in the coming months, particularly benefiting cement stocks.

Brokerage firm Arif Habib Limited (AHL) observed strong performance in the cement sector, with several stocks contributing to the index gains. AHL anticipates that cement and steel companies could be significant outperformers in the second quarter of the year.

Regarding inflation, data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics revealed a year-on-year CPI increase of 20.7% in March 2024, down from 23.1% in February and 35.4% in March 2023. This lower-than-expected inflation rate, coupled with the first instance in over three years of CPI-based inflation falling below the key policy rate of 22%, indicates a potentially positive economic trend.

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