LAHORE - Pakistan Stock Exchange edged higher on Monday, the first day of the new week, with support of blue-chip stocks. OGDC, MCB, ENGRO, POL, and PSO remained top contributors to the 100-share index, adding 181 points. The benchmark index gained 176 points to close at 43,540 points.

Experts said that automobile assemblers closed in the green zone, as auto experts predict demand for automobile to cross 500k mark by 2022. Pak Suzuki Motors (PSMC) and Honda Cars (HCAR) gained 1-4 percent.

Market witnessed thin participation, where volumes posted decline of 40 percent, while value declined by 22 percent. Stocks including HBL (-1.4 percent), PAKT (-5 percent), DAWH (-2.6 percent), PPL (-1.1 percent) & PMPK (-5 percent) withheld 124 points from the index. Moreover, out of 377 active stocks, 182 advanced while 180 declined and the rest closed unchanged.

Experts said that Asia-Pacific stocks largely rebounded from early declines, but Japanese stocks lagged behind on fresh political concerns. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is facing mounting pressure over a land-sale scandal that has been hanging over Japanese markets and the government for a year.

Fresh polls show Abe’s approval rating has taken a hit, while local reports suggest the issue may affect more officials. The Nikkei Stock Average NIK, closed down 0.9 percent as the Japanese yen rose 0.25 percent. The Tokyo market tends to suffer when the yen is strong.