Mar 13, 2013 (LBT) - Indices denote losses while turnover slowed: Bourse witnessed a slowdown in activity while turnover recorded the lowest level for the month reflecting sluggish investor sentiment clouded by the prevailing macroeconomic outlook. The benchmark index which gained 12 points at its intra-day high could not sustain its momentum as large caps dragged indices down denoting losses in Ceylon Tobacco Company (-1.4%), Bukit Darah (-2.7%) and Nestle Lanka (-2.0%) leading the index to settle at 5,685.82 points. Consequently the S&P SL20 index concluded trading with a dip of 11 points at 3,235.24 points.
BFI & Diversified sector contributed 74% to the turnover: John Keells Holdings emerged to dominate turnover at the final hour of trading backed by an off-board parcel of 327k shares which was transacted at a 52-week high (off-market) price of LKR237.0. The counter renewed its 52-week high at LKR239.0 (+0.6%) today. Hatton National Bank and Commercial Bank encountered strong on-board participation as each touched LKR110.9 (+0.8%) and LKR157.0 (+1.2%) at their intra-day high levels respectively. The former added 400k shares to the crossings board at LKR156.0 and the latter added c.244k shares at LKR110.0. Union Bank continued to attract interest between prices of LKR16.3 and LKR16.9 while National Development Bank touched a new 52-week high of LKR157.0 today.
Manufacturing sector focus surrounded TJL: Textured Jersey Lanka booked a slot in the top turnover list supported by several large on-board transactions as its price appreciated 5.2% to LKR10.1 before closing at LKR10.0. Its valuations still remain attractive at current prices with PER standing at 6.4x FY14E and 4.5x FY15E earnings with dividend yields of 5% and 7% respectively. Retail activity continued its slow pace: Retail activity remained subdued with most of the retail favourites trading at 52-week low levels. PC Pharma saw a further 1.5 mn share block being transacted at LKR8.1 while majority of activity surrounded penny counters.