The tumble on the Colombo bourse gathered fresh momentum yesterday with the All Share Price Index plunging 121.75 points (2.47%) and the Milanka losing 98.93 points (2.23%) on a turnover of Rs.534.3 million, up from the previous day’s Rs.395.7 million, with 18 gainers hopelessly outpaced by 210 losers.
"We saw quite a steep fall with the picture becoming bleaker by the day," a broker said. "However, the indices were dragged down by some highly illiquid stocks falling steeply on very small volumes."
Harischandra Mills fell by Rs.295 on one share, E.B. Creasy by Rs.40 on a single share, D. Samson Industries Rs.16.50 on 100 shares, Gestetner Rs.9 on one share, Shalimar Rs.8 on 31 shares and Chemanex Rs.7.50 on 10 shares.
"There is suspicion in some quarters that the market is being manipulated downwards," some analysts said. "Manipulation can be done both ways - to move prices up and down. Now you can deal in quantities as small as one share and manipulators don’t have to lay down much cash. Sharp falls in the indices can create conditions for cheap buying."
Trading yesterday saw a crossing of 300,000 JKH at Rs.188, Rs.3.10 down in a deal worth Rs.56.4 million and nearly 0.5 million done on the floor at Rs.188 also closing Rs.3.10 down generating the day’s top turnover of Rs.93.2 million.
Commercial Bank lost a rupee with over 0.6 million shares traded between Rs.103.50 and Rs.105.20 to close at Rs.104 contributing Rs.67.8 million to turnover while the bank’s non-voting shares closed Rs.2.20 down at Rs.74.90 on over 0.2 million shares done between Rs.74.20 and Rs.77.10.
Panasian Power saw activity after awhile with 5.9 million shares done between Rs.2 and Rs.2.20 closing flat at Rs.2.10 while NDB Bank closed Rs.2.50 down at Rs.110 on nearly 0.1 million shares done between Rs.108 and Rs.114.
Among other losers showing quantity were ERI, Rs.1.20 down to Rs.11.70 on 0.8 million shares and Richard Pieris down 30 cents to Rs.6.20 on over 1.3 million shares.
The Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka announced a final dividend of Rs.1.25 per share for 2011 following shareholder approval at an AGM on June 20. The share will trade XD from June 20 with payment on June 29.
Central Industries announced a final dividend of Rs.3 per share for 2011/12 with dates to be notified.
Sanasa Development Bank will introduce approximately 25.2 million voting shares for trading on May 31 with deposits accepted by the CDS with immediate effect.