KARACHI - Stock market closed at highest-ever level on Tuesday on investors speculations ahead of announcement of MSCI's decision on including Pakistan in its emerging market index. The benchmark 100-share index ended at 37517.75 points (up 1.45%) after gaining 537.79 points, brokers said.

Positivity prevailed in the market as the index rallied by around 538 points ahead of excitement about MSCI decision which is due to be announced in less than a day, by 5:00pm Eastern Day Light Saving Time, dealers said.

The nine proposed stocks in the large capitalization and mid tier category of MSCI Emerging Market Index led the rally, where HBL (4.6%) and LUCK (3.9%) gained to close in the green zone. HCAR (3.3%) and INDU (0.4%) gained to close in the green zone on the back of one-time tax imposed on imported vehicles above 1300cc engine capacity by Punjab government in its FY17 budget announcement. Investor interest was seen in the fertilizer sector as Punjab government in its budget announcement has also allocated Rs100 billion under the Khadim-e-Punjab Kissan package to address the issues of farmers community and food security over the course of two years. Major gainers of the aforementioned sector were FFC (2.3%) and ENGRO (1.1%), stated analyst Arhum Ghous.

Volumes increased by 3% to 143.6m shares while value rose 28% to Rs9.6b/$91.6m. K-Electric (KEL) and Pakistan International Bulk Terminal (PIBTL) were volume leaders with 38m shares traded combined.

Banking stocks increased for a second consecutive day. Habib Bank (HBL) closed at its upper limit (up 5%). while MCB Bank (MCB) and United Bank (UBL) increased 3.9% and 2.2%, respectively, said dealers at major brokerage.

Select index heavyweights stocks like Fauji Fertilizer (FFC), Hub Power Company (HUBC) and Lucky Cement gained 2.3-3.9%. Cumulatively, these stocks added 135 points to the benchmark index.