| Updated at: 1750 PST, Friday, January 28, 2011|
KARACHI: Shares prices at local capital market ended almost flat on Friday and volume fell to a one-month low as cautious investors remained on the sidelines ahead of the monetary policy announcement on Saturday by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
The Karachi Stock Exchange's (KSE) benchmark 100-share index ended 0.04 percent, or 4.44 points, higher at 12,481.44 points.
Turnover fell to 87.9 million shares, compared with 112.3 million shares traded on Thursday.
"Despite healthy corporate results in the energy sector, investors opted for the wait-and-see approach because of the monetary policy announcement," said Ahsan Mehanti, director at Arif Habib Investments Ltd.
Pakistan Oilfields Ltd announced a net profit of 5.2 billion rupees ($60.8 million) for six months ended Dec. 31, 57 percent higher than the net profit in the same period last year.
Analysts said investors were awaiting the outcome of the monetary policy announcement, in which eight out of 10 analysts expect the SBP to increase its key policy rate by at least 50 basis points, to 14.5 percent, to combat double-digit inflation.
In the last announcement in November, the SBP hiked the key policy rate by 50 basis points, to 14 percent.
However dealers said if the SBP left the policy rate flat at 14 percent, then it would improve market sentiment.
The rupee ended firmer at 85.51/56 to the dollar, compared with Thursday's close of 85.77/83 due to fresh inflows of dollars.
In the money market, overnight rates fell to between 13.25 percent and 13.75 percent, compared to the previous day's close of 13.90 percent, despite scheduled outflows of 22 billion rupees (257 million).