Pakistan equities closed on a positive note Tuesday with benchmark KSE-100 Index gaining 358 points to close at 39,902, up 0.9 percent. Market remained positive throughout the trading session as analysts believe attractive valuations stirred value hunting. An analyst at Trust Securities said KSE-100 started the day with upward movement with investors taking interest in the market. Macros were the major concern as the International Monetary Fund lowered its 2019 economic growth forecast for Pakistan and the region by 0.3 percentage points to 2.4 percent. Investors tracked down developments after the decision is in the pipeline to increase import duty on 1800cc cars by 10 percent and jacking up tax on import of high end user mobile phone sets, the government is considering major relief in terms of downward adjustments in four import slabs by 1 percent as well as abolishing Regulatory Duty on 150 to 250 items through upcoming supplementary finance bill. Meanwhile, cements and refineries followed suit on Finance Minister’s repeated commitments of relief measures to be announced in the upcoming Finance Bill due today. On the result front, Pakistan Oilfields limited (POL) announced it first half FY19 result where the company posted an EPS of Rs 27.79 along with cash dividend of Rs 20/share while Attock Petroleum Limited (APL) declared an EPS of Rs 21.13 along with a cash payout of Rs 10/share for the same period. If the Mini-Budget, to be unveiled today, is indeed investor friendly then it should further help boost market sentiments. However contrary to market talks, we expect increased taxation (particularly in the form of FED, GST and higher Income Tax on Salaried Individuals) which may call for profit-taking, said Murtaza Jafar, an analyst at Elixir Research. Total volume was recorded at 137 million shares, up 10 percent from the last session. TRG (+5%), FFL (+4.3%) and KEL (+0.9%) led the volumes with more than 31 million shares changing hands. Published in Daily Times, January 23rd 2019.