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KSE-100 RISES ANOTHER 965 POINTS

Jubilant investors breathed a sigh of relief as the two-month long gloom of the Panamagate scandal finally lifted. The KSE-100 Index registered an increase of another 965.09 points or 1.98 percent to end at 49,708.65 on Friday, inching closer to its record level after retreating from it in January. Stocks experienced a dramatic previous session when a timeframe of 10 minutes saw the KSE-100 Index jump over 1,200 points for one of the fastest increases ever posted by the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX).

The last session of the week witnessed similar enthusiasm with the index rising from the word go. Despite a short recess in the middle, the bourse maintained its hike, inching closer to the coveted 50,000-point level.

Overall, trading volumes fell slightly to 395 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 408 million. Shares of 410 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 321 stocks closed higher, 76 declined while 13 remained unchanged.

The value of shares traded during the day was Rs24.13 billion. Engro Polymer was the volume leader with 37.7 million shares, gaining Rs1.30 to close at Rs27.43.

US SHARES EDGE UP AHEAD OF FRENCH VOTE

Wall Street stocks edged higher early Friday on mixed corporate earnings and cautiousness ahead of a presidential election in France.

Mattel slumped 8.7 percent as it reported a $113.2 million loss in the first quarter, saying sales were damaged by a glut of toys after the holiday period. But Honeywell International advanced 2.8 percent as it offered an upbeat outlook.

Analysts also cited cautiousness ahead of Sunday’s French vote as a factor in the lackluster trade. Worries that France could elect an anti-eurozone candidate put a lid on the enthusiasm behind Thursday’s big US stocks rally.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 20,597.38, up 0.1 percent. The broad-based S&P 500 was up a hair at 2,355.92, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added less than 0.1 percent at 5,917.15. General Electric dipped 0.3 percent as it reported $619 million in the first quarter of the year, up from a $61 million loss in the same period a year ago. However, earnings in the oil and gas business were down. Schlumberger fell 2.5 percent as it reported $6.9 billion in revenues, about $100 million below expectations.

TOKYO STOCKS UP ON US TAX, JAPAN EASING TALK

Tokyo shares rose Friday, buoyed by fresh hopes for US tax cuts and comments from Japan’s top central banker that monetary easing would be in place for some time.

The gain followed a strong session on Wall Street where the Nasdaq closed at a fresh record on upbeat corporate earnings and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying promised tax cut plans would be unveiled soon.

Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda reiterated that the BoJ’s massive monetary easing campaign — aimed at stoking the economy and defeating deflation — would remain in effect for the foreseeable future.

His comments in Washington ahead of G20 talks pressured the yen in Asia, which is a plus for Japanese shares as it inflates exporters’ overseas profits.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 1.03 percent, or 190.26 points, to 18,620.75 — adding 1.56 percent over the week. The Topix index of all first-section issues gained 1.07 percent, or 15.77 points, to 1,488.58 — putting on 2.02 percent since last Friday. Toyota rose 1.75 percent to 5,855 yen, while Nissan gained 0.38 percent to 1,036 yen.

STOCK’S 9,800PC RISE EXPOSES HONG KONG’S PAPER BILLIONAIRES

The paper billionaires’ companies were dropped from the indexes compiled by FTSE Russell, MSCI Inc. and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, when they began announcing in 2015 that companies flagged by Hong Kong’s regulator would no longer be eligible. To be reinstated, the MSCI said it would need to confirm their free floats had returned to an acceptable level of 15 percent. None has been verified to have done so yet.

Also dropped for that reason was the Chinese operator of a casino on the US territory of Saipan, Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd. Luen Wong’s stock failed to register a single transaction on Tuesday’s trading day.

Shares of Imperial Pacific finished 2.9 percent lower, IBS’s stock dropped 3.6 percent and Goldin Financial and Goldin Properties fell 2 percent and 0.6 percent respectively. The overall Hang Seng Index declined 1.4 percent.

PARIS SHARES DOWN AFTER ATTACK

The Paris stock market fell 0.3 percent at the open on Friday after the latest violent attack on the city. The CAC 40 index retreated to 5,063.36 points compared with the close on Thursday. In Frankfurt, the DAX 30 inched up to 12,032.78 points and outside the eurozone, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 gained around 0.2 percent to 7,129.63.

A known terror suspect shot dead a French policeman and wounded two others Thursday on Paris’s Champs Elysees in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group days before a presidential election.

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