Late buying helps stocks trim weekly losses.

KARACHI -- Bears beat the bulls in the outgoing week as KSE-100 index fell 162 points (0.4 per cent) to close at 37,130.

The situation could have been worse, but for the last three sessions that saw the market rally by 726 points to recoup greater part of the 888 points lost in the first two days that had earlier plunged the index to three-year low.

At the verge of entering International Monetary Fund programme, economic clarity continues to evade investors which dampened sentiments. IMF and FY20 budget which were feared to be laden with heavy taxation, monetary tightening and possibly more rupee devaluation spooked investors.

Market confidence also received a jolt from the blow by the sudden resignation of Asad Umar the preceding week as investors worried that since he had spearheaded the talks with IMF, his stepping out of the ministry at such crucial juncture could jeopardise the bailout. Hafeez Shaikh's induction as adviser on finance was, however, taken by the market as a positive move.

During the week, earnings unveiled by the corporates in energy, cement and particularly banking sectors surprised the market as most outperformed consensus forecasts, which put life back in the market which bounced back to regain the lost ground. Investors also viewed with interest the development regarding prime minister's visit to Iran where President Rouhani announced that his country is ready to meet Pakistan' s oil, gas and electricity demands. Upon his return, PM Khan left for China where he also met with the World Bank CEO.

Foreign investors who were net sellers of $1.9 million in the preceding week turned to buying worth $9.3m with significant inflows witnessed in commercial banks and oil and gas exploration companies. Among local investors, banks were net buyers of $3.1m while mutual funds and individuals were net sellers of $8.2m...

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