Insurance and finance sector stocks attract investor confidence

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The fundamentally sound bank, insurance and finance sector companies have shown positive quarterly results and have created some investor confidence  in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE). Changes in the accounting standards/practices in the fundamentally strong insurance sector have boosted their asset value, which in turn, had helped to trade stocks in those counters in a positive manner yesterday, our stock market analysts said.

Amid those developments, both indices moved up, ie, the All Share Price Index by 27.15 points and  S and P SL20 by 3.69 points. The day's turnover stood at Rs. 455.2 million with two crossings. Those crossings were, Commercial Bank 200,000 shares crossed for Rs. 26.8 million, per share value Rs. 132.90 and Seylan Bank (Non Voting) crossed 407,000 shares for Rs. 21.6 million, per share value Rs. 53.10.

Retail market companies that mainly contributed to the day's turnover were: Sampath Bank Rs. 42.2 million (141,000 shares traded), JKH Rs. 37.8 million (237,000 shares traded) and Softlogic Holdings Rs. 37.7 million (1.58 million shares traded). During the day 14.5 million share volumes changed hands in 3890 transactions.

Sri Lankan shares ended with an edging up from a near five-week closing low hit in the previous session and investors stayed on the sidelines still the market conditions improved.

"It was a slow day and market participation was very low as the investors are still awaiting to see the real economic impact of the fuel price hike," market sources said.

"Market is hovering near its psychological barrier of 6,450 level." sources said.

The market shrugged off the Central Bank’s policy decision on Friday as it was widely expected, brokers said.

The Central Bank kept its key policy rates steady, a little more than a month after it unexpectedly cut the main lending rate, forecasting a modest recovery in the economy this year after growth slumped to a 16-year low in 2017.

Analysts said the depreciation of rupee also weighed on investor sentiment as it is likely to hit profits of some listed firms that rely heavily on imports. The rupee hit a fresh low of 158.00 per U.S. dollar on Monday on importer demand for the U.S. currency.

Meanwhile, JKSB said -

ASPI: 6,483.47 (+27.15 pts; +0.42%); Val T/O: Rs. 455mn (US$2.89mn); Vol T/O: 14.4mn; Trades: 3,890

Advance/decline ratio: 113/73; Top gainer: LPRT.N (+25.00%) ; Top loser: GOOD.N (-22.86%)


• The ASPI ended higher amid subdued turnover levels. SEYB.X, SAMP, and JKH led market activity including crossings with trading in SEYB.X amounting to 12% of total turnover.

• Banks, Finance, & Insurance was the most actively traded sector (+0.60%)

• Services was the best performing sector (+3.12%), supported by gains on JKL (+12.73%)

• Plantations was the worst performing sector (-1.07%), dragged down by declines on TPL (-4.84%)


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