Colombo equities wrapped the weekly operations for holidays on Wednesday with marginal gains. Main index declined to 6,846 mark during the first half but regained to end the session at 6,858.64, up by 4.07 index points or 0.06%. However, 20-scrip S&P SL index declined by 1.35 index points or 0.04% to close at 3,603.90.

Price increase in high caps such as John Keells Holdings (closed at LKR 177.80, +1.6%), Asiri Hospital Holdings (closed at LKR 23.80, +2.6%) and Keells Hotels (closed at LKR 15.30, +2.0%) drove the index performance to greener territory. John Keells Holdings attracted high investor preference to close with gains while warrant 0023 advanced to LKR 33.00, +1.5%.

Daily market turnover remained low at LKR 205mn. Single off-the-floor dealing of 3.3mn shares at LKR 30.00 in Ceylon Hotel Corporation lifted the turnover and counter emerged as the top contributor to the turnover with LKR 102mn. Crossings accounted for 49% of the total turnover. Stock closed at LKR 28.50 (+13.6%) with high returns.

John Keells Holdings (LKR 24mn), Commercial Bank (LKR 17mn) and Commercial Bank non-voting (LKR 8mn) were among top contributors to the total turnover.

Market breadth was positive where out of 218 counters, 111 advanced, 49 slipped while 58 remained unchanged. Cash map slightly increased from 42% to 46%. 8 counters declined to 52wk low prices while only Keells Food Products advanced to a 52wk high price of LKR 215.00 (+1.8%).

Retail investor attention moved to Textured Jersey and People’s Leasing & Finance during the trading session. Both counters closed the session with positive gains at LKR 35.60 (+1.6%) and LKR 22.80 (+0.4%) respectively. Further, Orient Garments, Ceylon Investment and Access Engineering were among heavily traded counters.

Meanwhile, several banks namely, Commercial Bank (LKR 141.50, -0.3%), Hatton National Bank (LKR 207.50, -0.6%), Sampath Bank (LKR 246.00, +0.5%) and HDFC Bank (LKR 67.00, -0.3%) witnessed losses during the session. Moreover, CT Holdings and its subsidiary, Cargills (Ceylon) declared interim dividends of LKR 1.00 per share and 1.25 per share respectively.

Foreign investors continued to remain on selling side for the fifth session in a row with a net foreign outflow of LKR 9mn. Foreign participation was 18%. Net foreign outflows were seen in Commercial Bank (LKR 5mn), John Keells Holdings (LKR 3mn), Millennium Housing Developers (LKR 2mn) while net foreign inflow was mainly seen in Textured Jersey (LKR 2mn).

During the short trading week, benchmark index declined by 0.38% or 26.05 index points while S&P SL20 index slipped by 0.55% or 20.01 index points. Ceylon Hotel Corporation (+22%), Singer Finance (+6%) and Nation Lanka Finance (+3%) were among the top gainers of the week while Orient Garments (-13%), CT Land & Development (-9%) and Ceylon Investments (-5%) were among the top losers.

The average weekly turnover dropped by 54% to LKR 276mn reflecting the lackluster investor activity. John Keells Holdings topped the weekly turnover list with LKR 263mn followed by Dialog Axiata (LKR 118mn) and Ceylon Hotel Corporation (LKR 102mn).

The foreign investors were net sellers during the week recording a net foreign outflow of LKR 98mn. Foreign activity was at 40%. Top net outflows reported in Dialog Axiata (LKR 119mn), Commercial Bank (LKR 27mn) and Seylan Bank (LKR 12mn) while top net inflows were mainly seen in John Keells Holdings (LKR 43mn), Hatton National Bank non-voting (LKR 17mn). Subsequent to this week’s net foreign outflow, year-to-date net foreign outflow increased to LKR 4.3bn.