Pakistani stocks falter after attack on Bhutto

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KARACHI, Oct 19 (Reuters) Pakistani shares fell in early trade today following an attack by a suspected suicide bomber that killed at least 133 people at a parade to welcome former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto home, dealers said.

Bhutto was unhurt.

With national elections due in January, investors had regarded her return from eight years of self-imposed exile as a sign Pakistan's political situation was stabilising, that would increase the chances of consistent economic policies.

The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) benchmark 100-share index <.KSE> had hit a life high yesterday.

But at the opening on Friday the index shed 0.43 per cent, or 63.89 points, to 14,691.33 on turnover of 26.6 million shares by 9:45 am 1025 hrs IST.

It had struck an early low of 14,553.54 points.

The free-float KSE-30 share index <.KSE30> was down 0.96 percent to 17,909.34 points.

''This is a reaction to the attack last night,'' said Mohammed Sohail, director equity broking at JS Global Capital Ltd.

''However, the good thing is that there is support at lower levels as investors are confident about the economy and the companies growth.'' Dealers said caution should be exercised as the situation in Karachi still remained tense.

Among the most active shares, Arif Habib Securities rose 0.75 rupees to 173.50, Oil and Gas Development Co Ltd was 1.50 rupees lower at 130.30, while DG Khan Cement was down 1.30 rupees to 115.80.

REUTERS SYU DS1100

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