KARACHI - Stocks closed at new highs on Thursday, led by oil, banking and cement scrips on strong earnings outlook. Positivity prevailed in the market during most part of the day as KSE 100-index gained around 322.48 points and closed at 51,426 level.

Optimism was driven on account of investors interest accumulating in potential MSCI EM stocks.

Major index movers were OGDC (up 2.40%), LUCK (1.79%), MARI (3.51%), POL (2.26%) and HBL (0.52%) as they cumulatively contributed 162 points to the index gain. On the flipside, UBL (down 1.35%), NRL (2.56%) and BAHL (1.01%) were the major laggards of the index. Major contribution to the index came from E&P sector as oil prices edged higher, extending their biggest one day jump since December. OGDC, POL and PPL (up 2.59%) were major gainers of the aforementioned sector, stated analyst Arhum Ghous.

Growth was also witnessed in the steel sector with INIL (up 5%), ISL (1.85%) and ASL (0.91%) closing in green zone.

Moreover, confidence was recouped in the cement sector where buying was witnessed in DCL (up 3.58%), LUCK and CHCC (0.61%).

Mid session pressure was witnessed on concerns for $26.6b trade deficit for Jul-April'17. Easing rift between civil govt and military, surge in global crude prices amid drop in US crude stocks, and speculations ahead of MSCI EM status played a catalyst role in record close, stated analyst Ahsan Mehanti.

Market participation improved with volumes up 19% d/d to 398m shares, while traded value rose 20%.

Summit Bank emerged volume leader with 31m traded shares, followed by WorldCall Telecom with 25m shares traded and Dewan Cement with 20.5m shares traded.

Total 386 active companies participated in the session, of which 239 closed in advance 133 in decline while 14 remained unchanged.