Bourse ends steady at near 2-week high; JKH boosts turnover

Thursday, 12 June 2014 00:48 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

REUTERS: Shares ended little changed on Wednesday at a near two-week closing high as gains in banking shares offset losses in palm oil producers, while buying in conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC boosted the turnover. Analysts said the market could undergo a technical correction as retail investors are waiting for profit-taking. The main stock index ended 0.28 points weaker at 6,293.36, edging down from its highest close since 29 May on Tuesday. Continued foreign buying and expectations of interest rates coming further down will boost sentiment and the market has been on a rising trend since late February, analysts said. The Bourse saw a net foreign inflow for the 10th straight session. Foreign investors bought Rs. 262.9 million ($ 2.02 million) worth of shares on Wednesday, extending the net inflow for the past 10 days to Rs. 3.53 billion worth of shares. They have been net buyers of Rs. 5.37 billion so far this year. Turnover was Rs. 1.41 billion, its highest since 16 May and more than this year’s daily average of Rs. 1.01 billion. Analysts also said they expect retail profit-taking in the coming days as the market has been on the rise for a long time and retail investors have been waiting for better price to sell. We see some selling pressure on certain shares. Analysts said the market expects a further fall in interest rates after Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal told Reuters on 30 May that the bank was creating room to cut interest rates further. The Central Bank will announce its June monetary policy rates on 18 June. Shares in palm oil investor Bukit Darah PLC, which dragged the overall index, fell 2.82% to Rs. 631.70, while financial service provider Lanka Orix Leasing Co PLC rose 2.71% to Rs. 87.30 a share. Market heavyweight John Keells Holdings, which accounted for 54.7% of the days turnover, ended flat at Rs. 234.50 after Capital Alliance, in a note, recommended investors to sell the conglomerate’s shares, citing lower-than-expected earnings.