Colombo stock market closed the weekly operations on optimistic note on Friday where investor sentiments continued to remain positive in anticipation of favorable corporate earnings. Benchmark index advanced by 0.18% or 12.64 index points to close at 7,081.49 while S&P SL20 index gained 6.48 index points (+0.17%) to end at 3,825.55.

Index performance was driven up by price inclines in Colombo city hotels namely Asian Hotel & Properties (closed at LKR 62.80, +4.7%) and Trans Asia (closed at LKR 88.90, +6.3%). Further People’s Leasing & Finance (closed at LKR 21.80, +1.9%) & Hemas Holdings (closed at LKR 82.00, +1.2%) contributed positively to the performance of the index.

Daily market turnover reached LKR 1.1bn underpinned by several off-the-floor dealings which accounted for 37% of the total turnover. John Keells Holdings topped the turnover list with LKR 415mn supported by six crossings totaling to 2.0mn shares at LKR 175.00. Access Engineering was the next best contributor to the turnover with LKR 68mn underpinned by crossings of 2.3mn shares which changed hands at LKR 22.50. Radiant Gems (LKR 48mn), Swisstek (Ceylon) (LKR 45mn) and Alumex (LKR 35mn) were among next best contributors to the turnover.

Reflecting the positive investor sentiments, 133 counters increased, 65 counters declined while 47 counters remained unchanged. Cash map marginally dipped from 55% to 49%. 6 counters increased to 52wk high prices while 12 counters touched 52wk low price levels.

Several illiquid stocks continued the positive run where counters namely Bogala Graphite (LKR 46.50), Richard Pieris Exports (LKR 329.90), Arpico Finance (LKR 266.00), Hayleys Fibre (LKR 91.10) and Lanka Aluminium (LKR 130.00) stepped to fresh 52wk high prices.

Meanwhile, Sampath Bank announced that the bank commenced operations in Myanmar to provide advisory services as permitted by the Central Bank of Myanmar. Stock closed with marginal returns at LKR 258.40, +0.1%.

Following the receipt of shareholder approval, AIA Insurance has divested its general insurance arm, AIA General Insurance Lanka Limited to Janashakthi Insurance. Approx. 18.8mn shares (100% issued shares) of AIA General Insurance were sold for a total consideration of LKR 3.2bn. Stock of AIA Insurance closed at LKR 305.00 (+1.7%) while Janashakthi Insurance remained unchanged at LKR 19.00.

Foreign investors remain as net buyers for the second consecutive session with a net foreign inflow of LKR 5mn. Foreign participation advanced from 17% to 46%. Net foreign inflows were seen in Textured Jersey (LKR 23mn), Seylan Bank non-voting (LKR 19mn) and Dialog Axiata (LKR 7mn) while net foreign outflow was mainly seen in John Keells Holdings (LKR 18mn).

During the week ASI advanced by 60.75 points or 0.87% while S&P SL 20 index advanced by 48.12 points or 1.28%. Bogala Graphite (+45%), Guardian Capital (+33%) and Radiant Gems (+32%) were among the top gainers of the week while Kalamazoo systems (-14%), Dankotuwa Porcelain (-8%) and Lanka Century Invesments (-5%) were among the top losers.

The average weekly turnover increased notably by 21% to LKR 1bn. John Keells Holdings topped the weekly turnover list with LKR 1.1bn followed by Nations Trust Bank (LKR 549mn) and People’s Leasing & Finance (LKR 256mn).

The foreign investors stood on the selling side for the week recording a net foreign outflow of LKR 184mn. Foreign activity improved from 23% to 34%. Net foreign outflows were mainly seen in People’s Leasing & Finance (LKR 218mn), John Keells Holdings (LKR 81mn), Distilleries (LKR 64mn) while net foreign inflows were mainly seen in Lanka IOC (LKR 85mn) & Commercial Bank (LKR 40mn). Subsequent to this week’s net foreign outflow, year-to-date net foreign outflow inclined from LKR 2.7bn to LKR 2.9bn.