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Wall street at record on increasing hopes of tax overhaul

Wall Street major indexes scaled new heights on Friday, with all the major sectors pushing higher as the long-awaited bill to lower corporate tax rates enters the final stretch. The final Republican tax bill is to be unveiled in Congress later in the day, with the decisive votes from both the House of Representatives and the Senate expected next week. Republican negotiators worked furiously to put the finishing touches on the bill and expanded a child tax credit in an effort to win the support of two wavering senators.

At 12:17 p.m. ET (1717 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.6 percent, at 24,655.56. The S&P 500 was up 0.84 percent, at 2,674.4 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.99 percent, at 6,924.30. The S&P 500 and the Dow are on track to close higher for the fourth week in a row, while the Nasdaq was set to post its first weekly rise in three weeks. The S&P consumer staples index rose 1.24 percent, the most among the 11 major S&P sectors. Costco gained 3.75 percent after the retailer reported upbeat results.

KSE-100 index ups as political dust settles to an extent

Investors returned to the market with renewed zeal after the massacre witnessed in the preceding session, taking the index as high as 700 points in intra-day trading. The KSE-100 opened on a positive note, but declined to end marginally positive by the time the first session ended. However, after resumption, share prices surged as the index shot up before profit-taking meant the KSE-100 finished 422 points higher from its previous day’s close. At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index registered an increase of 422.35 points or 1.10percent to settle at 38,645.90.

It is said that KSE-100 index remained positive in Friday’s trading session as the index traded between an intraday high of 701 points and an intraday low of 31 points to close at 38,646. Major movers at the bourse were ENGRO (+3.98percent), HBL (+2.30percent), SNGP (+3.94percent) and PPL (+1.18percent), contributing 160 points to the index. Investors’ interest was seen in the engineering sector as MUGHAL (+4.54percent) and ASTL (+3.07percent) closed in green zone on the back of news reports suggesting increase in price of steel bars. Overall, trading volumes increased to 139.8 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 92 million. Shares of 349 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 222 stocks closed higher, 98 declined while 29 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs9.1 billion. TRG Pakistan was the volume leader with 17.9 million shares, gaining Rs0.35 to close at Rs30.57. It was followed by Pak Elektron with 11.3 million shares, gaining Rs1.40 to close at Rs45.40 and Engro Corporation XD with 7.3 million shares, gaining Rs10.28 to close at Rs268.66.

Britain’s FTSE climbs as pound dips

Britain’s major stock index climbed on Friday at the end of a busy week of central bank meetings, reversing earlier losses thanks to a sliding pound and buoyant oil stocks.

The FTSE 100 edged up 0.6 percent, closing the week up 1.2 percent, having hit its highest level in a month on Wednesday. It reversed earlier losses as the pound fell, delivering a boost to foreign-exposed companies. Sterling fell as the EU moved Brexit talks on to the next phase. Oil majors Shell and BP propelled the index higher as crude prices recovered, lifted by the Forties pipeline outage in the North Sea.

Financial stocks fell, continuing a slide from the previous session as investors’ enthusiasm around bank stocks – expected to gain from US tax reform and rising interest rates – dissipated. HSBC, Standard Chartered and Barclays fell 0.7, 0.3 and 0.2 percent. Sky rose 2.8 percent, the biggest FTSE gainer, after striking a deal with BT to carry each other’s channels. BT also gained 1.4 percent.

Sri Lanka shares lower

Sri Lanka stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Services, Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals and Plantations sectors led shares lower. At the close in Colombo, the CSE All-Share fell 0.08 percent to hit a new 6-months low. The best performers of the session on the CSE All-Share were Paragon Ceylon PLC), which rose 20.97 percent or 13.00 points to trade at 75.00 at the close. Meanwhile, SMB Leasing PLC added 16.67 percent or 0.1000 points to end at 0.7000 and Shalimar Estates was up 15.83 percent or 273.40 points to 2000.00 in late trade. The worst performers of the session were Equity Two PLC, which fell 24.00percent or 12.00 points to trade at 38.00 at the close. Amana Takaful PLC declined 12.50percent or 0.100 points to end at 0.700 and Swarnamahal Financial Services PLC was down 10.00percent or 0.100 points to 0.900. Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Colombo Stock Exchange by 86 to 73 and 55 ended unchanged. Shares in Equity Two PLC fell to 3-years lows; down 24.00percent or 12.00 to 38.00.

Hong Kong share exchange issues new listing requirements

The stock exchange has set the bar higher with its minimum listing requirements for companies eyeing the main board and will implement most of the proposed reforms for its second board in February, the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) announced in a statement on Friday.

Charles Li Xiaojia, chief executive of HKEX, the bourse operator, said in response to a media enquiry, that the change was aimed at improving the quality of listings. Companies that want to list on the main board must have a minimum market capitalisation of HK$500 million (US$64 million), up from the current level of HK$200 million. The minimum public float value has also been increased to HK$125 million from HK$50 million.

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