Banking sector counters boost CSE trading; market indices in notable rise

By Hiran H. Senewiratne

CSE trading activities were positive throughout yesterday because the current economic environment is pushing the index up, especially with respect to the banking counters, a market analyst said.

Banking sector counters are rising over the possibility of the IMF agreement coming to a conclusion in the first quarter of the year as the Central Bank had predicted, market watchers said.Due to positive developments in the external and internal markets, buying interest and turnover levels have improved, they added.

Amid those developments both indices moved upwards. The All- Share Price Index went up by 72.37 points and S and P SL20 rose by 15.8 points. It was reported that the ASPI closed trading at the 9000 points mark for the first time since October 14, 2022. Turnover stood at Rs 1.8 billion with one crossing. The crossing was reported in Melstacorp, which crossed one million shares to the tune of Rs 57.5 million; its shares traded at Rs 53.40.

In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; Lanka IOC Rs 277 million (1.3 million shares traded), JKH Rs 237 million (1.6 million shares traded), Softlogic Capital Rs 128 million (7.9 million shares traded), Sampath Bank Rs 105 million (2.3 million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 68 million (355,000 shares traded), Softlogic Life Insurance Rs 59.9 million (480,000 shares traded), and Expack Corrugated Cartons Rs 57.8 million (3.6 million shares traded). During the day 67 million share volumes changed hands in 19000 transactions.

The market was on red during the previous sessions over delays in financial assurances coming from China, which are mandatory for a US $2.9 billion IMF loan. Besides, a rise in protests against the current tax hike kept investors in check, analysts said.

After the recent fuel revisions, the LIOC counter has seen some interest, pushing the counter up.It is said that high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in JKH. Mixed interest was observed in Softlogic Life Insurance, Lanka IOC and Expolanka Holdings, while retail interest was noted in Softlogic Capital, Industrial Asphalts and SMB Leasing nonvoting.

The Capital Goods sector was the top contributor to the market turnover (due to JKH) while the sector index gained 0.56 per cent. The share price of JKH increased by 50 cents to Rs. 140.The Insurance sector was the second highest contributor to the market turnover (due to Softlogic Life Insurance), while the sector index increased by 2.56 per cent. The share price of Softlogic Life Insurance gained by Rs. 3.75 (3.11 per cent) to settle at Rs. 124.25. Investors are also expecting a rate cut in the next Monetary Policy Review, analysts said.

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