Both CSE indices edge down

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) shares ended marginally weaker yesterday  as recent gainers witnessed profit-booking, while foreign buying in risky assets curbed losses.

Yesterday the market was down in both indices, ie, the All Share Price Index 22.61 points and S and P SL20 21.67 points as  quarterly earnings in most companies tend to drop due to low performance. Amid those developments, day's turnover stood at Rs. 968.35 million with three crossings.

Those crossings were:: JKH crossed 2.4 million shares to the tune of Rs. 385 million and the per share value was Rs. 160, Melstacorp crossed 380,000 shares for Rs. 22.8 million at a per share value of Rs. 60. TJL 869,000 shares crossed for Rs. 31.3 million at a per share value of Rs. 36.

When it comes to the retail market, companies that mainly contributed to the day's turnover were: CCS Rs. 135 million (163,000 shares traded), Central Finance Rs. 59.6 million (596,000 shares traded) and Sampath Bank Rs. 57.1 million (175,000 shares traded) 

It is said that foreign investors had bought  Rs. 18.5 billion  worth equities in 2017 and  Rs. 633.5 million in 2016.

During the day 13.32 million share volumes had changed hands in 3023 transactions.

"There was a bit of profit-taking in stocks which gained in last few days. Activity has come down as investors are waiting to see the direction," stock market analysts said.

The bourse hit a near two-month high on Monday as declining interest rates and expectations of higher economic growth boosted investor appetite for risky assets.

Treasury bill rates fell between March and December last year, mainly driven by foreign buying in treasury bonds, resulting in a decline in interest rates.

The country’s 2018 economic growth trajectory is likely to help boost market sentiment, analysts said.

Meanwhile, JKSB said of yesterday's CSE trading:

ASPI: 6,473.62 (-22.61 pts; -0.35%); Val T/O: Rs. 968mn (US$6.30mn); Vol T/O: 13.3mn; Trades: 3,023

Advance/decline ratio: 89/82; Top gainer: AINV.N (+50.00%) ; Top loser: SEMB.X (-33.33%)

Highlights: *The ASPI ended lower amid improved market turnover. JKH, CCS, and CFIN led activity levels including crossings also witnessed in TJL and MELS. Trading in JKH amounted to 44% of total turnover.

*Diversified Holdings was the most actively traded sector (-1.15%)

*Telecommunications was the best performing sector (+0.96%), supported by gains on DIAL (+0.75%)

*Trading was the worst performing sector (-1.53%), dragged down by declines on BRWN (-0.14%)

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