The week continued to witness downward momentum whilst most of the counters fell off the track due to profit booking witnessed across the board. World stocks also witnessed heavy volatility during the week amidst the World Bank’s cut in the global economic growth forecast for 2013, whilst concerns regarding a potential ease in the Central Banks’ efforts to support global economy also loomed fear among the global equity markets. During the week MSCI Frontier Market Index witnessed a WoW decline of 3.8% as at Thursday, whilst the MSCI Emerging Market Index also witnessed a WoW dip of 4.2%.
Moving our attention to the Colombo Bourse, the weekly turnover level was mainly enhanced by foreign and local institutional interest witnessed in conglomerate John Keells Holdings. However, the counter witnessed only a marginal WoW increase of 0.15% in its price to close at LKR266.0 as at Friday. In addition, institutional interest was also evident in Sampath Bank which secured the second place in the weekly top turnover calibre. The counter witnessed a single crossing during the week whilst ending at a WoW price decline of 6.1%. Further crossings were witnessed in counters such as Cargills Ceylon, Ceylon Tobacco Company, United Motors Lanka & Commercial Bank. In light of these activities bourse recorded an average turnover of LKR640mn during the week whilst the average volume was 26.6mn.
In addition, the week marked the full subscription of the first tranche of Anilana Hotels & Properties (AHAPL) IPO amounting to LKR480mn, whilst the company has decided to accept the applications for the second tranche of its IPO amounting LKR480mn.
Furthermore, Nation Lanka Finance, Nation Lanka Finance (W21), Pan Asian Power and PC House topped the list in terms of volume traded during the week.
Meanwhile, the week witnessed a decline in foreign participation where foreign purchase witnessed a decline of 56.1% WoW, whilst foreign sales witnessed WoW increase of 15.2% despite recording a net foreign inflow of LKR429mn. However, Colombo bourse still remains attractive at a trailing market PE of 12.5X compared to its nearest counterparts and the MSCI frontier emerging market index which trades at a PE of 13.6X.
Market capitalisation stood at LKR 2,388.5bn, and the YTD performance is 10.2%.
Conclusion: LKR depreciates while foreign interest in CSE retained…
The market shed further value for the third consecutive week, possibly due to profit taking witnessed in large cap counters and greater domestic investor interest in corporate debentures which provides an attractive tax free alternative to equity investments. Reaffirming this, corporate debentures issued by Lion Brewery and Central Finance were oversubscribed during the week.
The week continued to witness a decline in primary market yields of treasury bills and bonds as the Central Bank used its moral suasion on Commercial Banks in an attempt to lower market interest rates. Contemporaneously, the USD/LKR weakened by approx. 2% and hit a 6-month low over the week with importers expecting the LKR to depreciate further. This could be partly explained by foreign investors of domestic treasury securities locking in capital gains made in a declining interest rate environment prior to a further depreciation of the LKR. A declining interest rate environment could contribute to a weakening of the LKR due to a lack of demand for government securities as domestic rates becomes less attractive to foreign investors compared with other developing countries in the region. Nevertheless foreign investor interest in the CSE continued to persist as selected equities continued to trade at attractive multiples. As a result the YTD net foreign inflow was recorded at LKR16.3 bn by the end of the week.
In conclusion, if the Central bank is successful in persuading commercial banks to lower market interest rates, all firms in general would be positively impacted due to lower borrowing costs. However if the depreciation of the LKR persists, its impact on firm earnings would be more mixed. Specifically if the LKR depreciation persists, export oriented and tourism sector firms may be positively impacted whilst manufacturing firms which heavyliy rely on imported raw materials and firms with large foreign borrowings may be negatively impacted.
Source: Asia Wealth Management Research