The turnover on the Colombo bourse hit Rs.1.36 billion yesterday, up from the previous day’s Rs.941 million, and the All Share and S&P indices were up although the Milanka was down with strong buying interest evident for several blue chips, brokers said.
The All Share Price Index was up a marginal 8.10 points (0.14%), the Milanka down 23.75 points (0.43%) and S&P SL 20, which many brokers consider a better blue chip tracker than the Milanka, was up 8.55 points (0.27%) with 128 losers slightly ahead of 107 gainers while 71 counters closed flat.
"The ASPI edged marginally higher amid volatility with improved activity levels due to trades on banking, insurance, telecommunication and diversified counters, inclusive of crossings accounting for a majority of turnover," John Keells Stock Brokers said in a market report.
There was a foreign inflow of Rs. 192.5 mn. with foreign purchases at Rs. 504.71 and sales at Rs. 312.56.
There was intensive speculation that a deal for control of Aviva NDB Insurance (previously CTC Eagle) was in its final stages with the insurance counter shooting up Rs.52 to close at Rs.368.90 on 65,593 shares traded yesterday between a low of Rs.323.90 and a high of Rs.380.
The NDB which has a major stake in Aviva through CDIC also closed Rs.4.10 up at Rs.134.10 on 0.3 million shares done between Rs.131.50 and Rs.134.90.
A Hong Kong based insurance giant AIA is reported to be close to acquiring Aviva’s controlling stake according to market rumours.
Four blue chips and Ascot Holdings saw block trades at previous prices with JKH seeing nearly 1.4 million shares crossed at Rs.220.10 in deals worth Rs.305.3 million, Ceylon Tobacco a crossing of 50,000 shares at Rs.720 worth Rs.36 million, Aitken Spence nearly 337,000 shares crossed at Rs.124 with the transaction valued at Rs.41.8 million and a crossing of 100,000 Sampath at Rs.211 worth 21.1 million.
Ascot too saw crossings of 300,000 shares at Rs.187.50 worth Rs.56.3 million.
On the trading floor, JKH was the biggest turnover generator with nearly 0.5 million shares traded between Rs.219.60 and Rs.220.90 closing 60 cents up at Rs.220.10 contributing Rs.108.1 million to the day’s business volume.
Nation Lanka Finance followed generating Rs.41.5 million turnover closing 70 cents down at Rs.13.60 with nearly 3 million shares done between Rs.13.50 and Rs.14.60 with Seylan Bank (non-voting) contributing Rs.41.2 million to turnover closing 10 cents up at Rs.34.10 on nearly 1.2 million shares traded between Rs.34 and Rs.35.80.
Other blue chips that saw volume and price gains included NDB up Rs.4.10 to Rs.134.10 on 0.3 million shares, Dialog up 60 cents to close at Rs.8.10 on 5 million shares, Commercial Bank up 90 cents to close at Rs.115 on 0.2 million shares and HNB (voting) down a rupee to close at Rs.165 on nearly 0.2 million shares.
Brokers said that Browns Beach and Kandy Hotels too were heavily traded, the former gaining 10 cents to close at Rs.30.0 on nearly 1.2 million shares and the latter down 60 cents to Rs.11 on 2 million shares.
They said that there was high demand for blue chips like JKH, HNB (non-voting), Sampath and NDB with demand for quantity.