*ComBank, JKH, Spence and banking stock attract interest
*Foreign buying helps market
The smiles came back in Colombo’s stock broking industry yesterday with the market distinctly looking up closing with turnover comfortably topping a billion rupees and both indices up sharply with many brokers and analysts attributing foreign buying into some blue chips triggering upward movement.
Turnover at Rs.1.72 billion was down from the previous day’s Rs.2.29 billion and the All Share Price Index up 133.04 points (2.38%) while the Milanka gained 163.35 points (3.43%) with 193 gainers leaving 20 losers trailing dismally behind.
"All are smiling today," a stockbroker from a leading brokerage said. "The market was helped by foreign buying which triggered interest."
Foreign buying was evident in JKH which closed Rs.4.50 up at Rs.167 on 0.7 million shares done between Rs.163.40 and Rs.169 generating a turnover of Rs.118.6 million which was number four on the turnover league.
The big business generator was Commercial Bank closing Rs.4 up at Rs.106 on nearly 3.5 million shares done between Rs.100.50 and Rs.106 contributing Rs.348.9 million to turnover.
Aitken Spence followed gaining Rs.3.50 to close at Rs.113 on two million shares done between Rs.108 and Rs.115 contributing Rs.350 million to turnover while NTB was up Rs.5 to close at Rs.62.50 on over 2.2 million shares done between Rs.55.90 and Rs.62.80.
Noting that blue chips moved on price and volume, a broker said that this was good for the market adding that institutions are still not active with state institutions yet absent.
Asia Asset Finance closed flat at Rs.7 on 14.8 million shares done between Rs.6.80 and Rs.7.50 with other speculative stocks likes Swarnamahal, ERI and Ceylinco Finance also showing volume and price gain.
Commercial Bank’s non-voting shares did better than the voting shares gaining Rs.7.20 to close at Rs.86 on a million shares traded between Rs.76 and Rs.86. Brokers explained that since the dividend yield was the same for the voting and non-voting shares, many investors preferred to buy the non-voting stock.
Other than ComBank and NTB, banking stocks that were active included Sampath up Rs.8.70 to Rs.179.90 on nearly 0.2 million shares done between Rs.174 and Rs.179.90, HNB up a rupee to close at Rs.145 on nearly 0.6 million shares done between Rs.141 and Rs.145.
Pan Asia too was up Rs.1.40 to Rs.25.50 on slightly over 0.3 million shares done between Rs.23.30 and Rs.25.50.
Union Bank was up 90 cents to close at Rs.20.50 on nearly 0.4 million shares and Seylan Bank (non-voting) up Rs.1.70 to Rs.29.70 on nearly 0.3 million shares traded between Rs.27.10 and Rs.29.70.
Dividend announcements for the day were by Royal Ceramics, a tax-free interim dividend of Rs.2 per share for 2011/12 XD from Feb. 8 and payment on Feb. 17; Alliance Finance an interim dividend of Rs.25 per share for 2011/12 XD from Feb. 8 and payment on Feb. 17; and Bairaha an interim dividend of Rs.2 per share for 2011/12 XD from Feb. 8 and payment on Feb. 21.