Amidst foreign buying, return of locals boosts Bourse

Thursday, 4 April 2013 01:27 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Colombo stock market experienced a rebound yesterday with its value rising by Rs. 9 billion thanks to the return of locals amidst continued foreign buying.

The ASPI improved by 24 points, with gains marked in Ceylon Tobacco Company (+1.5%), DFCC Bank (3.0%) and Union Bank (12.2%) weighted heavily on the positive performance of the index.

The S&P SL20 too ended up green by 16 points.

“The benchmark index displayed a clear uptrend with notable buying pressure on banking counters. In the mid-day trading the Bourse displayed a notable retracement, giving investors the opportunity to buy into the next rally,” Softlogic Stockbrokers said.

“Turnover passed Rs. 900 million mainly owing to the 50% contribution that came from index heavy John Keells Holdings, National Development Bank and Nations Trust Bank,” NDB Stockbrokers said. John Keells Holdings saw continued foreign interest while retail buying was seen in National Development Bank, day prior to its ex-dividend date. Buying interest was also evident in Union Bank, NDBS added.

Lanka Securities emphasised banks were the star performers, with NDB, DFCC Bank and Union Bank reaching their 52-week highs. NDB, which declared a Rs. 10 dividend last week, closed at Rs. 171 (+1.6%) with only one day remaining before the XD. DFCC Bank closed at Rs. 137.10 (+3.8%) while speculators drove Union Bank share to Rs. 19.30 (+12.2%).

Premier blue chip JKH saw heavy off-board buying interest. The counter recorded three off-market blocks accumulating to 1.2 million shares done at Rs. 248 before closing with a 0.4% gain at Rs. 247. Nations Trust Bank too recorded large crossing of 1.5 million shares which changed hand at a price of Rs. 58 whilst it closed up 1% to Rs. 59.1.

Sampath Bank and Pan Asia Bank too figured among investor favourites. Sustained buying interest on Pan Asia Bank saw its price peak to a psychological high of Rs. 20 before closing at Rs. 19.80, up 5.9%.  

 Retail activity remained sluggish though some interest was witnessed in Nation Lanka Finance with active level of trading. The counter closed flat at Rs. 8.80. Further, among the heavily traded stocks Central Finance dropped by 7.2% and reached a 52-week low price of Rs. 2.50 during the day.

Lanka Securities said cash map yesterday was 61.7% whilst foreign participation was 21.7% of total market turnover. Foreigners were net buyers to the tune of Rs. 328 million bringing the year-to-date inflow to Rs. 5.5 billion.