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Pakistan stocks up 615.28 points

Investors continued to buy stocks in droves as the KSE-100 Index registered a gain of 615.28 points or 1.47 percent to power past the 42,500 level. The gain meant the index ended positive for the 12th successive session, cumulatively adding 12.1 percent during the bullish run that started at the end of December.

On Friday, trading began on a positive note with the KSE-100 Index witnessing a surge of 300 points in the first half. The buying spree continued when trading resumed after the mid-day break leading the index to hit an intra-day high of 42,584.96 points.

At close, the KSE-100 Index ended with a gain of 615.28 points or 1.47 percent to finish at 42,523.99. Overall, trading volume increased to 260.9 million shares, compared with Thursday’s tally of 222.4 million. Shares of 388 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 282 stocks closed higher, 86 declined while 20 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs9.5 billion. Bank of Punjab was the volume leader with 18 million shares, gaining Rs0.75 to close at Rs9.51. It was followed by WorldCall Telecom with 11.9 million shares, gaining Rs0.05 to close at Rs2.96 and K-Electric with 11.4 million shares, losing Rs0.09 to close at Rs6.86.

Best week since April for European stocks

European shares powered to their best week since last April on Friday, with the British and Swiss benchmarks hitting records, propelled by optimism about a strengthening regional economy and fresh new highs on Wall Street.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.8 percent, holding at a two-month high, while euro zone blue chips rose 1.1 percent, also scoring its best performance since April. Markets outside of the euro zone saw several record levels broken. Switzerland’s blue chip SMI index rose 0.5 percent to an all-time high, while Britain’s FTSE 100 also jumped to another record, even if its rise, 0.4 percent, was more modest than its European peers.

US shares add to records

Wall Street stocks added to records early Friday even as the Labor Department reported the US economy created just 148,000 jobs in December, far fewer than expected. Economists had been expecting 200,000 new jobs or more last month, especially after payroll services firms ADP said Thursday that private hiring surged by 250,000 in the month.

About 10 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 25,129.25, up 0.2 percent. The blue-chip index closed above 25,000 points for the first time on Thursday. The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.2 percent to 2,729.49, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.3 percent to 7,100.92.

Hong Kong shares rise for a ninth day

Hong Kong shares went into the weekend with another rise, marking a ninth straight gain following more records on Wall Street and as energy firms benefited from a rally in oil prices.

The Hang Seng Index rose 0.25 percent, or 78.16 points, to close at 30,814.64. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 0.18 percent, or 6.04 points, to 3,391.75 and the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, edged up 0.04 percent, or 0.84 points, to 1,941.80.

Sri Lankan shares climb to near 2-month high

Sri Lankan shares rose on Friday, closing the first week of the new year on a firm note, on the back of heavy foreign buying in blue chips.

The Colombo Stock Index ended 0.85 percent firmer at 6,514.73, its highest close since Nov. 11. It rose 2.3 percent this week, in its second consecutive weekly rise. Foreign investors’ net bought shares worth 357.1 million rupees ($2.33 million) on Friday, extending the net foreign inflow in this year to 1.96 billion rupees. They had net bought 18.5 billion rupees worth equities in 2017 and 633.5 million rupees in 2016. Turnover stood at 1.4 billion rupees on Friday, more than last year’s daily average of 915.3 million rupees.

TSX declines with resources stocks at end of strong week

Canada’s main stock index fell on Friday, weighed by losses among natural resource stocks as commodity prices pulled back, muting a strong weekly gain for the index.

At 10:14 a.m. EST (1514 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index fell 64.87 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,348.07. It was nevertheless on track for a 0.9-percent gain over the course of the holiday-shortened week. Eight of the index’s 10 main groups were in negative territory, with decliners outnumbering advancers by 2.25-to-1 overall. The energy group retreated 1.4 percent, while the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1.1 percent.

Romanian stocks climb

Romanian stocks touched a 2-1/2-month high on Friday, while other Central European equities markets took a breather after a rally in the first sessions of the year.

After strong gains in 2017, regional stocks rose further in 2018, helped by a global rally, Central Europe’s healthy economic output and improved dividends prospects. Romania’s stock index, a regional underperformer last year, leads this year’s rise, with 3.1 percent gain from 2017 by 0915 GMT. Other indices took a breather around psychological levels.

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