The Colombo stock market yesterday turned to take a downward slope, taking a breather after continuous gains during the last two weeks. Towards mid-day the benchmark index was down 15 points at 5,731 points. However a gradual recovery was observed, allowing the market to end just two points down.
Softlogic Stockbrokers said buying interest in the blue chips was observed with John Keells Holdings, Nestle, and Chevron Lubricants leading the positive contributors, while Hayleys, Bukit Darah, and Cargills were the top negative contributors.
The S&P SL20 adopted a similar pattern to the ASPI closing with a dip of 2 points. It said market interest continues to be dominated by John Keells Holdings as foreigners search for quantities of the most liquid premier blue chip company. The counter saw 983,000 shares changing hands with two large quantities consisting of 299,000 and 340,000 shares being dealt at Rs. 223 and Rs. 221.50 per share respectively. The counter traded between Rs. 220 and Rs. 223.5 to finally close the day at Rs. 223 with a gain of 1.4%.
Heavy buying interest was observed in the leading liquor companies Distilleries and Lion Brewery as both the counters registered in new 52-week high prices of Rs. 170 and Rs. 305. The former saw a large block of 153,000 shares changing hands at Rs. 170 in the final minutes of trading while counter closed at the same price gaining 0.7% for the day. The latter traded between Rs. 298.9 and Rs. 305 to finally close at the high price of Rs. 305 recording gain of 2.5%.
Aitken Spence registered the only crossing during the day with 202,000 shares being dealt at Rs. 119.0. Buying interest was noted in the banking and finance sector counters with Commercial Bank (0.1%), Sampath Bank (0.1%), Nations Trust Bank (0.3%), LOLC (1.6%), People’s Leasing (-1.4%), and Central Finance (-3.3%) taking the lead.