Pakistan Stocks Rebound After Biggest Plunge in 17 Months

Pakistan stocks rallied from the biggest plunge in the benchmark index in 17 months as some investors judged the losses excessive.

The benchmark Karachi Stock Exchange 100 Index advanced 0.5 percent to 16,181.47 at the close. The gauge plunged 3.2 percent yesterday, the steepest slide since August 2011, after the nation’s Supreme Court ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf on charges of alleged corruption in a case involving power projects.

Lotte Pakistan PTA Ltd., part of South Korea’s Lotte Group, rallied 4.9 percent to 6.60 rupees. The stock sank 9.2 percent yesterday. Oil & Gas Development Co., Pakistan’s biggest company by market value, rose 0.9 percent to 185.55 rupees, paring yesterday’s 2.7 percent slide. TRG Pakistan, which manages call centers in the country’s three biggest cities, surged 6.1 percent to 6.27 rupees.

“Investors see a landscape that is starved of investment and I think people are hungry to get back into the game,” Muddassar Malik, chief executive officer of BMA Funds, who oversees the equivalent of $120 million in stocks and bonds, said in an interview. “Our index target for the calendar year 2013 is 20,000, and we don’t feel that the current set of events will derail that target for the time being.”

Yesterday’s court ruling came hours after Islamic scholar Tahir-ul-Qadri had gathered thousands of people in the center of Islamabad, vowing to stay put until the government quit and corrupt politicians were removed from the legislature.

Pakistan’s top judges ruled that the National Accountability Bureau should arrange warrants for the arrest of Ashraf and 15 others accused over the handling of contracts for rented power units, according to the court order. The bureau’s chairman has been ordered to report to the court Jan. 17. Ashraf, who hasn’t been convicted of any crime, didn’t respond to the court order.

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