Gloom on bourse continues

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) lost further ground yesterday with the All Share Price Index (ASPI) dropping 5.9 points (0.5%) while the Milanka lost 10 points (0.51%).

"It wasn’t as sharp a fall as on Monday when the ASPI dipped 34 points and the Milanka plunged by 64," a Colombo stockbroker said.

"Actually the market was up four or five points at the start and then it started sliding."

Unlike on Monday, when a high Rs. 678 million turnover was recorded largely on a big block of NDB bought by a Hong Kong based fund, turnover yesterday was disappointing at Rs. 95.4 million.

Foreign activity too was low with purchases of Rs. 25.7 million and sales of Rs. 2.4 million resulting in a net inflow of Rs. 23.7 million.

John Keells Stock Brokers reported that the market had started positively "but then slipped back with lackluster activity."

Even the large transactions for the day were small — around 0.15 million JKH, down 1.7% to Rs. 116, some 0.6 million SLT closing flat at Rs. 20.50 and 0.36 million NTB, also closing flat at Rs. 33.25.

The DFCC Bank, with its one for three bonus issue announcement last week, held its ground at Rs. 300 on a small 10,362 shares traded. Commercial Bank too held its Rs. 151 price also on a small parcel of 18,162 shares.

Brokers said that turnover, snail-slow at opening, picked up a little towards the close of trading yesterday and attributed the slow going to negative political sentiment with most investors standing on the sidelines with a wait-and-see approach.