KARACHI -  Stocks on last trading day of February kicked off on a sluggish note, with the PSX shares index trading in a narrow band of 190 points, but later on in the session a sharp 400 point sell-off ensued; likely due to brokers clearing out clients outstanding debit balances. However, the index finally closed at 48,534.23 points, up by 13 points, brokers said.

Banking sector weighed down on the index as the sector closed 0.6 percent lower. HBL (slip 0.31%), MCB (0.79%) and UBL (0.53%) were major index movers of the aforementioned sector. Moreover, POL (up 0.36%) in the E&P sector gained to close in the green zone as market players continued to weigh the prospects of production cuts by major crude producing nations amid rise in US drilling. ISL (gain 4.58%), INIL (2.11%) and STCL (2.53%) gained to close in the green zone on the back of the news that LHC has not granted stay order on antidumping duty to importers, said analyst Nabeel Haroon.

Rumors on likely new regulatory measures over defaulting brokers invited mid-session pressure. Upbeat urea sales, likely surge in local POL prices, record earnings announcements in selected cement, banking and auto stocks supported the index for a positive close, market participants said.

HUMNL announced EPS of 0.22/share. Resultantly the stock closed at its upper limit. PPL announced EPS of Rs2.74/share. Stock price declined 0.7 percent. PGF and PIF continued to close at their upper limit following announcement that they will soon be converted into an open ended fund, said dealers at major brokerage.

Overall, volumes dried up 9 percent d/d to 228 million shares, while value traded fell 7 percent to Rs10.8 billion/$102.7 million. (lowest vol/val in 2017). ASL was volume leader for second consecutive day of the week as more than 17 million shares of the company exchanged hands.