The Colombo Bourse yesterday staged a mini rally sentiment wise in anticipation of a positive meeting between President and Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and capital market stakeholders today.
The market’s value rose by Rs. 27 billion as both the ASI and MPI saw a 1.5% rise after being depressed for several weeks.
Turnover improved to Rs. 663 million with blue chips Sampath Bank, JKH and DFCC Bank dominating.
The percentage wise gainers list was dominated by speculative stocks, which saw their prices move up between 10 and 20%. However top three blue chips accounted for over 50% of the turnover.
Heavyweights John Keells Holdings (+1.69%), Asian Hotels & Properties (+5.4%), Nestlé Lanka (+2.74%) and Ceylon Tobacco (+1.06%) weighed positively on the indices with speculative players also joining in the rally.
The S&P SL20 index managed to secure its highest gain since introduction closing with a 27.5 point gain at 2,760.2 points, Softlogic Stockbrokers said.
Several other brokers and analysts linked the rebound to the impending Presidential forum whilst others pinned it to the 10.5 times oversubscription of the $ 1 billion sovereign bond though the latter news was with the market on Wednesday. Some in the market remain wary about Presidential meeting as well.
Nevertheless Reuters said Bourse jumped on hopes that the Government may be considering measures to boost the share market.
“Any positive comments on the country’s macro-economic stability could boost investor confidence,” a stockbroker said on condition of anonymity to Reuters, which quoted President Rajapaksa’s Spokesman Bandula Jayasekara as saying the meeting is not “an intervention” but a discussion.
NDB Stockbrokers said the double digit increase in indices was mainly owing to the “positive sentiments created on the back of the sovereign bond, trading relaxations introduced by the SEC” and the upcoming President’s forum.
Asia Wealth partly attributed the rebound to investors expecting a positive outcome of the brokers meeting with the President whilst Lanka Securities said the market saw “renewed interest on popular retail investor counters amidst a meeting scheduled with the President and industry professionals in order to address issues pertaining to the faltering stock market”.
Softlogic Stockbrokers viewed the rebound as part of Bourse welcoming the conclusion of the country’s most successful bond issue to date coupled with the signs of easing up interest rates.
When the President met brokers last year on 27 November, investors cheered the move even before its outcome. Whilst the meeting only started at 2 p.m. or 30 minutes before the market’s close, the ASI shot up by 4% to a two-year high with market value rising by Rs. 79 billion.
It will be interesting to see how the market behaves today, with the Presidential forum scheduled for 11 a.m.
As locals returned to the Bourse (the number of trades doubled between yesterday and Wednesday), foreign selling came in, resulting in a net outflow of Rs. 216 million though the year-to-date figure at Rs. 24 billion remains a record in recent years.