Colombo Bourse declined for the third session breaking the 7,300 support as blue-chips slid on profit taking and foreign selling. The benchmark All Share Price index shed 58.36 points or 0.8% to end at 7,240.39 amid profit taking. S&P SL 20 index lost 27.42 points or 0.68% falling below the 4,000 mark to end at 3,979.90. In last three sessions the ASI shed 110.13 points or 1.5%.

Losses recorded in Index heavy counters such as Sri Lanka Telecom (closed at LKR 48.00, -1.6%), John Keells Holdings (closed at LKR 176.50, -1.9%) and Ceylon Cold Stores (closed at LKR 379.00, -5.2%) drag the index performance to the negative territory.

Daily market turnover was LKR 662mn. Several crossings were recorded in Commercial Bank (0.4mn shares at LKR 171.00 per share), Ceylon Tobacco (0.05mn shares at LKR 956.00 per share), Hatton National Bank non-voting (0.2mn shares at LKR 175.00 per share) and Sampath Bank (0.1mn shares at LKR 256.00 per share). Total crossings accounted for 26% of the market turnover.

John Keells Holdings topped the turnover list with LKR 95mn and led the trades for the session. Commercial Bank (LKR 85mn), Aitken Spence (LKR 50mn) and Ceylon Tobacco (LKR 48mn) recorded next best contributions to the market turnover. Market liquidity declined to a seven week low of 17.7mn shares.

Market breath was negative with 139 counters declining 56 counters rising while 51 counters remained unchanged. Selling pressure dragged the cash map down from 53% to 37%. Ten counters declined to 52wk low prices while Kalamazoo Systems (LKR 1,850.00), Taprobane Holdings (LKR 5.40) and Lanka Ventures (LKR 53.50) recorded fresh 52wk high prices.

Moreover shares of Textured Jersey, George Steuart Finance, Lanka IOC and Ceylon Grain Elevators attracted heavy investor interest during the session.

In addition, global crude oil prices further declined where WTI crude oil price retraced back to USD 44.00. Despite the crude oil price decline, shares of Chevron Lubricants (closed at LKR 394.90, -0.03%) and Laugfs Gas (closed at LKR 41.00, -1%) plunge during the session while Lanka IOC closed unchanged at LKR 41.90.

The dividend announcements of Ramboda Falls and The Colombo Fort Land & Building failed to attract investors and recorded negative returns with LKR 30.10, -2% and LKR 26.00, -1.9% respectively.

Meanwhile Eden Hotel Lanka announced a right issue with a proportion of 01 for 01 at LKR 20.00 per share. The purpose of the issue is to repay a part of the outstanding debt.

Foreign investors continued to be net sellers with a net outflow of LKR 36mn. Foreign participation was 36%. Net foreign outflows were seen in Aitken Spence (LKR 50mn), John Keells Holdings (LKR 18mn) and Hayleys (LKR 6mn) while net foreign inflows were mainly seen in Central Finance (LKR 16mn) and LB Finance (LKR 6mn). Subsequent to today’s losses the year-to-date net foreign outflow increased to LKR 3.5bn.

Meanwhile, at today’s Treasury bill auction, the yields inclined where  the yields of 6M and 12M treasuries crossed the 7.00% mark for the first time since March 2015, to incline by 20bps each to 7.07% and 7.17% respectively whilst 3M yield advanced by 26bps to 6.79%. CBSL offered LKR 12bn worth of Treasury bills today and the auction was oversubscribed by 2.5 times with bids received amounting to LKR 30.2bn. It was decided to accept LKR 3.9bn.

(Lanka Securities Research)