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FTSE 100 HITS YET ANOTHER RECORD HIGH

The index’s most recent climb was largely the result of a cautious US Federal Reserve and the outcome of elections in the Netherlands.

The FTSE 100 eked out yet another all-time closing finish on Friday, building on its slew of recent records and indicating that its fierce rally over recent months is not yet running out of steam. This week’s climb was largely the result of a cautious US Federal Reserve combined with elections in the Netherlands that saw anti-EU candidate Geert Wilders garner fewer votes than expected.

Late Wednesday the Fed lifted its funds rate by 25 basis points as expected, to a range of 0.75 percent to 1.00 percent. But it also said that further increases would only be “gradual”.

The FTSE 100 has huge exposure to commodity companies, via the likes of Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Glencore, so any moves in those stocks have an outsized impact on the index as a whole. On Friday, financial shares lead the way on the FTSE 100 for most of the session, before retreating slightly.

KSE-100 RECOVERS, SNAPS LOSING STREAK

The KSE-100 Index snapped its six-day losing streak, ending positive on Friday as investors cheered World Bank’s loan of $450 million and took renewed interest in index-heavy stocks.

A positive open, which saw the index gain over 420 points, was followed by selling pressure after the morning session, but a recovery within the last 15 minutes helped the positive finish.

At close, the Pakistan Stock Exchange’s (PSX) KSE 100-share Index recorded a rise of 119.69 points or 0.25 percent to finish at 48,409.35. Market expert said equities closed in the green after most of the first session’s gains that pushed benchmark KSE-100 index higher over 48,700 level were erased on profit-booking in second session.

The market opened on a positive note as the index traded at intraday high of +438 points to finally close at 48,409 level (up 120 points). Overall, trading volumes rose to 212 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 180 million. Shares of 387 companies were traded.

At the end of the day, 215 stocks closed higher, 155 declined while 17 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs16.5 billion. Bank of Punjab was the volume leader with 30.6 million shares, gaining Rs0.40 to close at Rs16.11.

US STOCK FUTURES EDGE HIGHER

US stock futures traded slightly higher in early pre-market trade on Thursday as the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index for March and the index of leading economic indicators for February is schedule for release later in the day.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 14 points to 20,896.00, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures rose 0.50 points to 2,379.50. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index gained 5 points to 5,420.00. Oil prices traded higher as Brent crude futures gained 0.50 percent to trade at $52.00 per barrel, while US WTI crude futures rose 0.57 percent to trade at $49.52 a barrel.

 

SRI LANKAN SHARES CLIMB

Sri Lanka stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Information Technology, Telecoms and Healthcare sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Colombo, the CSE All-Share rose 0.32 percent. The best performers of the session on the CSE All-Share were SMB Leasing PLC, which rose 50.00 percent or 0.2000 points to trade at 0.6000 at the close.

Meanwhile, Central Investments and Finance PLC added 14.29 percent or 0.100 points to end at 0.800 and Lanka Ceramic PLC was up 13.46 percent or 14.90 points to 125.60 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Selinsing PLC, which fell 24.13 percent or 349.80 points to trade at 1100.10 at the close. Serendib Land PLC declined 21.73 percent or 361.00 points to end at 1300.20 and Standard Capital PLC was down 13.04 percent or 9.00 points to 60.00.

MOST ASIAN STOCKS CRAWL HIGHER

Asian stocks crawled higher in early trade on Friday, set for its best week since September, while the dollar continued the slide that began after the Federal Reserve indicated it was unlikely to speed up monetary tightening.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six trade-weighted peers, retreated 0.1 percent to 100.26. It hit a five-week low on Thursday, and is down almost 1 percent for the week. The dollar was steady at 113.32 yen but is on track to post a 1.2 percent loss for the week. While the Fed raised interest rates by 25 basis points on Wednesday, it kept to its original forecast of three rate hikes this year, disappointing investors who were expecting four.

The 10-year yield was at 2.5402 percent in early trade, from its last close of 2.524. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.1 percent, set to end the week with a 3.3 percent gain, its biggest weekly increase since September.

Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.4 percent, and is poised for a 0.5 percent loss for the week. MSCI’s all-country world stock index, which hit an all-time high on Thursday, was little changed on Friday, on track to end the week 1.3 percent higher. Overnight, Wall Street was subdued following strong gains after the Fed’s rate decision. The Nasdaq was flat, while the Dow and the S&P 500 posted losses. The euro touched its highest level in 5-1/2-weeks on Friday. It was fractionally higher at USD 1.07715 in early trade, after two days of strong gains, and set to end the week up 0.9 percent.

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