Stock mxarket gathers strength

Thursday, 7 July 2011 00:57 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Colombo stock market yesterday gathered further strength with ASPI up though marginally and turnover managing to top Rs. 1 billion mark.

Tuesday’s star JKH yesterday was subdued in terms of volume though its price peaked to Rs. 219 before settling down at Rs. 215, up by 30 cents. On Tuesday nearly 7 million shares of JKH traded for Rs. 1.4 billion.

Diversified counter Expolanka saw 7.9 million shares traded including a crossing of 5 million shares at Rs. 13.60 each, at which price it closed, up by 60 cents over Tuesday. Expolanka saw foreign buying of nearly 6 million shares. This boosted foreign net inflow to Rs. 75.6 million.

The other crossing to take place yesterday was 100,000 shares of Commercial Bank at Rs. 260 each at which price it closed up Rs. 2.80.

Another blue chip Aitken Spence gained by Rs. 4.80 to Rs. 144.70 on thin volume whilst among other gainers included Ceylinco Insurance, Royal Ceramics and Richard Pieris Exports. Royal Palms saw its share rise gain by 13% or Rs. 8.70 to Rs. 73.70 on a volume of 30,100 shares.

Reuters said stock market hit over one-week high on Wednesday as investors lapped up battered shares across board, with financials leading and foreign inflows boosting investor sentiment.

Low liquidity, however, dented turnover and volume.

Sri Lanka’s main share index gained 0.31 percent or 21.27 points to 6,884.06, its highest close since June 27. It had hit a six-month low on Monday.

Financial shares led the overall index gain with the top listed private lender Commercial Bank leading with a 1.09 percent rise.

Since 1 June, the bourse had shed 6.8 percent mainly due to forced selling, in line with the policy of the regulator Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to recover credits, aiming to eliminate all credit dealing by end 2011.

The bourse is still up 3.74 percent so far this year. It was the top performer in the Asia-Pacific in 2010 and 2009 with 96 percent and 125 percent returns, respectively.

The day’s turnover was 1.02 billion Sri Lanka rupees ($9.31 million), well below last year’s average of 2.4 billion and this year’s daily average of 2.8 billion.

The SEC has said there may be over 30 billion rupees of liquidity locked in private placements and initial public offerings since February this year.

Foreign investors were net buyers of 75.6 million rupees worth of shares on Wednesday and they have sold a 7.47 billion rupees in 2011 after a record 26.4 billion in 2010.

Traded volume was 53.6 million, against a five-day average of 56.8 million. The 30-day and 90-day average trading volumes were 177 million and 102.9 million, respectively. Last year’s daily average was 67.9 million.

The rupee closed flat at 109.49/50 a dollar for a third straight session with a state bank defending it by selling dollars at 109.50 although there was heavy importer demand for the greenback, dealers said.