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KSE-100 INDEX ENDS WEEK WITH SLIGHT LOSSES

The Pakistan Stock Exchange ended the week on a flattish note, with the benchmark KSE-100 index losing 46 points, or 0.09pc, by the close of Friday’s trading session to reach 48,971.05.

Volumes were led by commercial banks, engineering, and power generation and distribution scrips as the benchmark index turned red in the last hour of trading. It is said that stocks closed lower amid pressure in banking sector as investors awaited SBP key policy rate decisions. Investor interest remained in selected cement, auto and engineering sector stocks on likely gains in CPEC projects.

Concerns for weak global crude prices, falling exports and coverage issues at PSX also played a catalyst role in the bearish close. 124.5 million shares of indexed stocks changed hands in the session, with a total worth of nearly Rs6.9 billion. Stocks of 394 companies were traded on the Pakistan Stock Exchange, of which 204 gained in value, 172 declined and 18 remained unchanged. Overall volumes increased by 11.3 percent to 353m shares, while value decreased by 14.3 percent at Rs11.3 billion.

WALL STREET MOVES HIGHER

Wall Street opened higher on Friday, helped by a rise in technology shares and ahead of a closely watched vote on a healthcare bill seen as a test of President Donald Trump’s ability to pass his legislative agenda through Congress.

The Dow and S&P 500 are now on track to post their first monthly declines since October. The S&P has risen about 10 percent since Trump’s election as US president on Nov. 8.

At 9:35 a.m. ET (1335 GMT) the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 42.19 points, or 0.20 percent, at 20,698.77, the S&P 500 was up 6.28 points, or 0.26 percent, at 2,352.24. The Nasdaq Composite was up 25.99 points, or 0.45 percent, at 5,843.68. Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the technology index’s 0.54 percent rise leading the advancers.

TSX GROWS AS TRANSCANADA CLIMBS

Canada’s main stock index rose on Friday, led by financial and energy shares as oil prices gained and after TransCanada Corp said the US Department of State issued a presidential permit for the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

At 9:50 a.m. ET (1350 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 35.46 points, or 0.23 percent, to 15,469.07.

The gains came as investors awaited a vote on a US healthcare bill, seen as a test of President Donald Trump’s ability to pass his legislative agenda, including tax cuts and infrastructure spending that could boost economic growth, through Congress. TransCanada’s shares rose 1.1 percent to C$62.44, while the overall energy group gained 0.3 percent. Nine of the index’s 10 main groups rose, including a 0.2 percent gain for the heavyweight financials group, while industrials rose 0.4 percent as railroad stocks gained ground.

CHINESE DAIRY STOCKS CRASH 90PC

Shares in a Hong Kong-listed Chinese dairy crashed more than 90 percent Friday, in one of the city’s biggest sell-offs that wiped billions from its market capitalization.

China Huishan Dairy collapsed 91 percent in late morning trade before paring back marginally and heading into the break 85 percent down at HK$0.42.

Trading in the shares, which scratched about $4.1 billion off its market value, was suspended by the start of the afternoon session.

TOKYO SHARES RISE

Tokyo stocks moved slightly higher in early trading Friday as a weaker yen boosted exporters, but gains were capped by Wall Street declines after a key vote on US healthcare reform was delayed.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.33 percent, or 63.39 points, to 19,148.70 in early trading after falling slightly at the open. The Topix index of all first-section issues, meanwhile, was up 0.44 percent, or 6.69 points, to 1,537.10, also recovering from a decline at the beginning of trade. In currency trading, the dollar fetched 111.22 yen, recovering from 110.98 yen in New York, but still lower than 111.36 yen seen in Tokyo late Thursday.

Honda was up 0.02 percent to 3,436 yen, while Sony gained 1.44 percent to 3,591 yen. Megabank MUFG was up 1.49 percent to 718.9 yen.

HONG KONG SHARES EXTEND GAINS

Hong Kong stocks built on the previous day’s rally Friday as investors await a delayed vote on US healthcare reform, which is seen as a proxy for the success of Donald Trump’s pro-growth agenda.

The Hang Seng Index added 0.31 percent, or 75.70 points, to 24,403.40. And the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index was flat, dipping 1.20 points to 3,247.35, while the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, was flat, inching 0.27 points to 2,038.33.

SRI LANKAN STOCKS AT 1 YEAR LOW

Sri Lankan shares edged up on Friday from a more than one-year closing low as foreign investors picked up battered shares in a market that had already factored in a monetary policy tightening by the central bank.

The Colombo stock index closed 0.3 percent up at 5,996.28, edging up from its lowest close since March 15, 2016 hit on Thursday. The index breached a key psychological barrier of 6,000 on Wednesday. Turnover stood at 1.92 billion rupees ($12.7 million), more than double this year’s daily average of 671 million rupees. The index had lost 2.1 percent through Thursday since March 7, when the IMF called for monetary policy tightening if credit growth or inflation do not abate.

The central bank raised its benchmark interest rates by 25 basis points on Friday for the first time in eight months to contain high inflationary expectations and a possible acceleration of demand side inflationary pressures.

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