Failing to continue its positive momentum, the KSE-100 closed negative on Thursday as range-bound trading continued amid much lower volume at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX). Ending the session on Thursday, the benchmark-100 index finished 106.62 points or 0.23pc lower at 47,270.76. The index has stayed in the range of 47,000-48,000 for around a month now as lack of positive triggers, and uncertainty over the country’s Covid-19 situation, worry investors. The index registered an intra-day high of 47,555.99, but profit-booking again resulted in pressure with the index falling below the 47,200 level. Meezan Bank Limited remained the stock of interest, closing up 3.22pc as the bank announced 2Q2021 EPS of Rs4.6, up 5pc year-on-year, and higher than industry expectation, along with a dividend of Rs1.5 and 15pc bonus shares. Sectors dragging the benchmark KSE 100 index lower included oil and gas marketing (21.86 points), power generation and distribution (18.36 points), and pharmaceutical (16.55 points). Volume on the all-share index declined significantly from 382.64 million on Wednesday to 230.17 million on Thursday. The value of shares traded during the session also shrunk to Rs11.54 billion, from Rs15.71 billion on Wednesday. TRG Pak Limited remained the volume leader with 19.22 million shares, followed by Ghani Global Holdings with 15.07 million shares, and WorldCall Telecom at 11.81 million shares. Shares of 458 companies were traded on Thursday, of which 106 registered an increase, 329 recorded a fall, while 23 remained unchanged. Over 75,000 hectares to be brought under olive cultivation: The government has set a target to cultivate olive plants over 75,000 hectares to further cement its efforts to reduce reliance on imported edible oil by tapping the existing potential of oil seeds production across the country, particularly strengthening the rural economy with the promotion of high-value crops. Under the second-phase of cultivation of olive on a commercial scale project, the government intended to cultivate about 10 million olive plants in the next three years as all set objectives of the program were achieved and were on track from 2018, said National Project Director Dr Muhammad Tariq. He said that the second phase would be initiated by the next month (September) as so far olive have been cultivated over 34,000 hectares and Pakistan was also recognised by the International Olive Council and became an observer member country of the council. The second phase of the project focuses on gender and youth involvement and special programs were designed to impart training to them for establishing nurseries and value addition units to create job opportunities for educated, skilled and semi-skilled workforce, particularly in rural areas in the country, he added. He said that the government would also provide a matching grant of 50 percent for the installation of value added units to encourage olive cultivation and production, adding that it will help the government in its efforts to provide livelihood opportunities to the growing workforce of the country. Dr Tariq further informed that besides provision of matching grants for value addition plants, the government would also provide technical assistance to olive growers and provide branding and marketing training to introduce the product in local markets as well as abroad. Besides olive plantation, the grafting of wild olive was also incorporated in second phase, he said adding that about 10 million wild olive trees would turn into olive by grafting about 10 million trees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, which would help to enhance local output of olive oil and its byproducts.