Colombo equities stretched losses for the fifth straight day on Tuesday on sustained selling pressure triggered by weak domestic cues. ASI lost 13.96 points or 0.2% to close at 6,895.19 while S&P SL 20 index lost 6.35 points or 0.2% to close at 3,651.34. The main index lost nearly 1.7% during the six post-budget sessions and the year-to-date loss is closing 6%.

Today’s decline was mainly driven by the price dips in Carsons Cumberbtach (LKR 350.00,-2.8%), Dialog Axiata (LKR 10.60, -0.9%) and Bukit Darah (LKR 510.00, -1.0%). However, premier blue-chip, John Keells Holdings (LKR 181.80, +1.1%) managed to hold ground amid foreign interest. Interim dividend of LKR 1.50 declared by Commercial Bank failed to make an impact on the share price today, and the counter closed little changed at LKR 140.20 (-0.1%).

The debutant, Candor Opportunities Fund managed to touch a high of LKR 10.80 during the session, but closed at the IPO price of LKR 10.00.

Market breadth was mixed as 82 counters rose, 88 fell and 57 remained unchanged. 27 counters fell to 52 week low in today’s session. Cashmap dropped from 59% to 41%.

Day’s turnover was LKR 509mn. Ceylon Tobacco led the turnover list with LKR 185mn supported by off-the-floor deals of 174,277 shares at LKR 1,000-1,011.00 per share. Further crossing was recorded in Peoples Leasing where 4mn shares changed hands at LKR 22.00 per share. The crossings represented 52% of the market turnover. Accordingly, Peoples Leasing (LKR 91mn), John Keells Holdings (LKR 45mn) and Commercial Bank (LKR 30mn) made notable contribution to the day’s turnover.

John Keells Holdings, Commercial Bank and PC Pharma led the trades today along with Access Engineering and Grain Elevators.

Foreign investors were net buyers of LKR 195mn worth of shares. Foreign activity was at 46%. Top net inflows were seen in Peoples Leasing (LKR 87mn), Ceylon Tobacco (LKR 73mn) and John Keells Holdings (LKR 22mn). Top net outflows were seen in Commercial Bank (LKR 14mn) followed by Dialog Axiata (LKR 3mn).

(Lanka Securities Research)