Stock market sets off on bullish note but turns bearish by mid-day

By Hiran H. Senewiratne

The CSE kicked off on a bullish note yesterday but by the middle of the session the buying interest was not sustained and it edged down in mid-day trade. It was pulled down by Sampath Bank, Melstacorp and Ceylon Tobacco Company.

The market in general is moving towards a- wait- and- see approach as it is expecting the interest rates to adjust downward because the Central Bank’s monetary policy review is likely to take place this month, stock market analysts said.

The stock market began November on a positive note with both indices managing gains though investor activity levels remained lackluster, but yesterday the market turned negative due to gloomy situations in the macro and micro environments, market analysts said.

Amid those developments both indices moved downwards. The All Share Price Index went down by 43.9 points and S and P SL20 declined by 3.7 points. Turnover stood at Rs 1.19 billion with a single crossing. The crossing took place in Browns Investments, which crossed 3.5 million shares to the tune of Rs 21 million and its shares traded at Rs 6.

In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Expolanka Holdings Rs 419 million (2.4 million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 193 million (1.1 million shares traded), JKH Rs 40.6 million (310,000 shares traded), CT Holdings Rs 36.2 million (206,000 shares traded), Sunshine Holdings Rs 30.7 million (822,000 shares traded), Melstacorp Rs 24.2 million (545,000 shares traded) and CIC Holdings Rs 23.1 million (272,000 shares traded). During the day 36.3 million share volumes changed hands in 13000 transactions.

It is said high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in JKH and Hayleys. Mixed interest was observed in Expolanka Holdings, Lanka IOC and Melstacorp, while retail interest was noted in Browns Investments, SMB Leasing nonvoting and LOLC Finance.

The Transportation sector was the top contributor to the market turnover (due to Expolanka Holdings), while the sector index gained 11.12 per cent. The share price of Expolanka Holdings increased by Rs. 16.75 (11.15 per cent ) to close at Rs. 167.

The Energy sector was the second highest contributor to the market turnover (due to Lanka IOC), while the sector index decreased by 4.08 per cent. The share price of Lanka IOC lost Rs. 8.50 (4.63 per cent) to close at Rs. 175.25.

Yesterday the Central Bank- announced US dollar buying rate was Rs 360.71 and the selling rate Rs 371.51.

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