Colombo equities wrapped the weekly operations with marginal negative returns on Friday amid the low investor activity. Benchmark index swung between gains and losses to end the session at 6,961.41, decrease of 1.96 index points or 0.03%. S&P SL20 index shed 0.96 index points (0.03%) to close at 3,704.04.

Today’s losses were driven by the price depreciation in blue-chips such as John Keells Holdings (closed at LKR 184.00, -1.1%), Ceylon Tobacco (closed at LKR 980.00, -0.6%) and Commercial Bank (closed at LKR 145.00, -0.6%).

Daily market turnover recorded a 4 week low of LKR 428mn. People’s Leasing & Finance emerged as the top contributor to the turnover with LKR 87mn underpinned by two off-the-floor dealings of 2.4mn shares at LKR 21.70. Counter accounted for 20% of the total turnover. Ceylon Tobacco (LKR 51mn), Commercial Bank (LKR 46mn) and National Development Bank (LKR 44mn) were among top contributors to the turnover.

Despite the losses, market breadth was positive where out of 232 counters, 89 advanced, 79 slipped while 64 remained unchanged. Cash map declined from 48% to 43%. 25 counters touched 52wk low prices while only Kelani Cables managed to touch 52wk high price level. However, stock closed at LKR 123.00, +1.7%.

Banking sector continued post losses where Commercial Bank and National Development Bank declined to a 52wk low prices of LKR 145.00 and LKR 195.00 respectively. Further, Pan Asia Bank (LKR 26.90, -0.4%) and Union Bank  (LKR 21.90, -0.5%) closed with negative returns. Meanwhile, Hatton National Bank declared an interim dividend of LKR 1.50 per share but counter closed with flat returns at LKR 216.00.

John Keells Holdings, PC Pharma, Textured Jersey and Access Engineering were among heavily traded counters.

Foreign investors were net sellers with a net foreign outflow of LKR 21mn. Foreign participation was 43%. Net foreign outflows were seen in Commercial Bank (LKR 44mn), Ceylon Tobacco (LKR 31mn), John Keells Holdings (LKR 11mn) while net foreign inflow was mainly seen in People’s Leasing & Finance (31mn).

During the week ASI declined by 56.03 points or 0.80% while S&P SL 20 index dipped by 70.07 points or 1.86%. Cargills Ceylon (6%), Nestle Lanka (5%), Singer Sri Lanka (5%) were among the top gainers of the week while Laugfs Gas (-9%), Nations Trust Bank (-8%), National Development Bank (-8%) were among the top losers.

The average weekly turnover marginally declined by 6% to LKR 690mn. John Keells Holdings topped the weekly turnover list with LKR 465mn followed by Access Engineering (LKR 259mn) and Commercial Bank (LKR 251mn).

The foreign investors stood on the selling side for the week recording a net foreign outflow of LKR 211mn. Foreign activity was at 45%. Net foreign outflows were mainly seen in Commercial Bank (LKR 212mn), Access Engineering (LKR 165mn), Ceylon Tobacco (LKR 48mn) while net foreign inflows were mainly seen in Hatton National Bank (LKR 80mn) and Hatton National Bank non-voting (LKR 46mn). Subsequent to this week’s net foreign outflow, year-to-date net foreign outflow increased to LKR 3.8bn.

(Lanka Securities Research)