Colombo bourse continued the winning streak for the third consecutive day on Thursday ahead of the new government’s maiden general budget. All share index advanced by 0.55% (38.21 index points) to close at 7,020.18, despite the thin market activity.  S&P SL20 index gained 16.59 index points or 0.44% to end at 3,781.25.

Today’s gains were led by premier blue-chip, John Keells Holdings (closed at LKR 185.50, +1.1%) following the interim dividend announcement. Meanwhile, as per the announcement, out of 50.3mn warrant (2015) of John Keells Holdings, 49.3mn warrants were exercised and accepted. Subsequent to the conversion, company has received approx. LKR 7.97bn.

Commercial Leasing & Finance (closed at LKR 4.10, +5.1%), Ceylinco Insurance (closed at LKR 1,450.00, +5.3%) and Access Engineering (closed at LKR 24.00, +4.4%) were among contributors to the index performance.

Daily market turnover was LKR 552mn. John Keells Holdings topped the turnover list with LKR 65mn followed by Dialog Axiata (LKR 53mn), Commercial Bank (LKR 41mn) and Access Engineering (LKR 32mn). Single crossing was recorded in Dialog Axiata of 2.0mn shares at LKR 11.00 and accounted for merely 4% of the total turnover.

Market breadth was positive along with the optimistic investor momentum where out of 248 counters, 148 advanced, 50 declined while 50 remained unchanged. Cash map marginally improved from 62% to 64%. 21 counters declined to 52wk low prices while only 03 counters managed to reach 52wk high price levels.

In anticipation of positive budget proposals on Textile industry, both Textured Jersey and Hayleys Fabric attracted heavy investor preference. Textured Jersey advanced to 52wk high price of LKR 36.00 but closed at LKR 35.60, +1.7%. Hayleys Fabric closed at LKR 22.90, +3.6%.

Access Engineering, Bogala Graphite and Dankotuwa Porcelain right shares were among heavily traded counters. Moreover, Senkadagala Finance announced first interim dividend of LKR 0.60 per share and The Fortress Resort declared interim dividend of LKR 1.00 per share.

Following the listing of private placement shares of Asiri Hospital Holdings, counter declined by 2% to close at LKR 24.50. Company raised LKR 846mn via the private placement to Actis Investment Holdings SL Limited.

Foreign investors remained on selling side with a net foreign outflow of LKR 28mn. Foreign participation 28%. Net foreign outflows were seen in Commercial Bank (LKR 23mn), National Development Bank (LKR 16mn), Ceylon Grain Elevators (LKR 12mn) while net foreign inflow was mainly seen in Dialog Axiata (LKR 13mn).

(Lanka Securities Research)