Karachi—Pakistan stocks hit a fresh record closing high on Friday, led by energy and bank shares, with the main index posting its best weekly gain in nearly three years after the country’s stock market was included in MSCI’s key benchmark earlier in the week. The benchmark 100-share index of the Pakistan Stock Exchange ended 25.34 points, or 0.07 percent higher, at 38,776.94 points, a fresh closing high. It gained 5 percent on the week, its best weekly gain since the first week of July 2013, when it rose 5.6 percent.
Pakistan’s benchmark index jumped as much as 3 percent in early trade on Wednesday, climbing to a record high after the country’s stock market was reclassified overnight and included in the MSCI’s emerging market index category. Research firms estimate the MSCI upgrade will result in about $400 million in inflows into Pakistan’s stock market by passive tracker funds alone. “In a thinly traded session, the index staged a decent recovery today, after an initial correction of 111.60 points amid thin turnover, partly due to reduced trading hours on account of Friday,” Intermarket Securities Ltd said in a statement. There was a significant decline in market participation, with 105 million shares changing hands compared with 192 million on Thursday. Banks were the best performers, rising 12.3 percent on the week, followed by cement sector stocks which gained 6.2 percent. K-Electric and Habib Bank Ltd led the volume charts, with K-Electric closing 0.12 percent higher, while HBL was up 4.76 percent.