Pakistani stocks closed higher on Thursday, largely due to continuing positive investor sentiment following MSCI's announcement a day earlier that the bourse was to be included in its emerging markets index, analysts said. The benchmark 100-share index of the Pakistan Stock Exchange finished 0.50 percent higher at 38,751.60. The index hit an all-time high of 39,039.67 in intraday trade, before retracing some gains prior to the close. "Since the MSCI upgrade, Pakistan remains disconnected with its regional and global peers because the event itself is big enough to re-rate the entire index," said Gohar Rasool, head of international sales at Inter Market Securities Pvt Ltd. Large-cap banking stocks, which comprise several of the stocks to be included in the emerging markets index at its next review in May 2017, rallied on the day, said Rasool. Habib Bank Ltd closed at the daily upper limit of rising 5 percent, MCB Bank Ltd rose 4.63 percent and United Bank Ltd gained 2.31 percent. Cement stocks performed well on the day, after a ruling that allowed them to pass on an increase in federal excise duties to consumers, Rasool said. D G Khan Cement Company Ltd rose 3.24 percent, while Maple Leaf Cement Factory Ltd hit the upper circuit breaker of 5 percent. Traded volume stood at 191 million shares, with traded value at 16.15 billion rupees ($154.43 million).