Colombo equities witnessed lackluster trading session on Monday where indices recorded losses after three consecutive days of gains. Investors sentiment turned red which was reflected in the decline of 0.59% (43.58 index points) in All share index to end at 7,306.94, prior to release of the 8th monetary policy review of the year. 20-scrip S&P SL index shed 22.89 index points (-0.57%) to close at 4,026.26.

Premier blue chips such as John Keells Holdings (closed at LKR 180.00, -2.0%) and Ceylon Tobacco Company (closed at LKR 965.00, -1.5%) dragged index performance to negative territory while Hemas Holdings (closed at LKR 88.00, -3.2%) and Lion Brewery (closed at LKR 648.00, -1.9%) were among top contributors to the decline in benchmark index performance.

Daily market turnover was LKR 518mn, lowest in 6 weeks. Commercial Bank topped the turnover list with LKR 98mn followed by Asia Siyaka Commodities (LKR 38mn), Lanka IOC (LKR 34mn) and Textured Jersey (LKR 32mn). No crossings were recorded during the session.

Out of the 246 counters, 114 slipped, 81 advanced while 51 remained unchanged. Cash map marginally dipped from 55% to 52%. 5 counters touched 52wk low prices while another 5 counters managed to touch 52wk high price levels.

High investor activity was seen in Lanka IOC counter and stock advanced to LKR 43.50 but closed below at LKR 41.60 (-3.9%). Further, People’s Merchant Finance, Textured Jersey and Asia Siyaka were among highly traded scripts.

During the trading session, EB Creasy & Company declared a first & final dividend of LKR 20.00 per share. Subsequent to the announcement, stock moved to 52wk high price of LKR 1,425.00 (+23.9%). Moreover, Mackwood Energy announced a first & final dividend of LKR 0.10 per share.

Meanwhile, most of the diversified holdings such as John Keells Holdings, Hemas Holdings, Richard Pieris, Aitken Spence ended with negative returns while Softlogic Holdings and Vallibel One remained unchanged.

Foreign investors were net buyers, snapping 6 days of net selling with a net foreign inflow of LKR 30mn. Foreign participation was 23%. Net foreign inflows were seen in Commercial Bank (LKR 73mn), Textured Jersey (LKR 12mn), People’s Leasing (LKR 3mn) while net foreign outflow was mainly seen in Laugfs Gas (LKR 25mn).

During the month August the main index declined by 25.11 points or 0.34% while S&P SL 20 index dipped by 81.71 points or 1.99%. Net foreign outflow of LKR 4.3bn was recorded during August, the highest outflow per month since February 2014 (LKR 835mn outflow in July). Foreign participation was relatively low at 26% compared to 36% recorded in July. According year-to-date net foreign outflow increased to LKR 3.4bn.

According to the data released by Department of census and statistics, the annual average inflation rate further dropped from 1.3% to 1.0% in August. The year-on-year change is -0.2%.

(Lanka Securities Research)