Hemas saw 34.7 million of its shares traded for Rs. 1.56 billion, of which 33.5 million shares (6.5%) were net foreign buying. A block of 33.5 million shares was done at Rs. 45 each via nine crossings. Hemas’ foreign holding is now 73.25 million shares of 14.2%. Premier blue chip JKH and Chevron Lanka also saw some net foreign buying though small in value.
Foreign investors were net buyers for a seventh straight session according to Reuters, which put the year-to-date net inflow at Rs. 8.93 billion.
NDB Stockbrokers said price gains witnessed in index heavy counters such as CTC and JKH raised the market to close in the positive territory. JKH closed up 1.44% or Rs. 3.20 to Rs. 225.50. CTC closed at Rs. 1,076.30, up by Rs. 23.
Yesterday’s gain brought the All Share Index’s year-to-date return to 8.79% whilst the S&P SL 20 Index is now up 9.62%. The ASI closed at its highest close since 4 June 2013.
“Stockbrokers said foreign investors see value in shares, while local investors are gradually shifting to risky assets from fixed ones,” Reuters said. “If foreign participation continues and there are no unnecessary hiccups, the market will continue to run,” said a stockbroker asking not to be named, according to Reuters.
Brokers said State funds like the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Sri Lanka Insurance sold their stakes to foreign investors. They expect the State funds to buy stocks with the funds they got from Wednesday’s dealings.
As at 31 March, 2014, EPF held 5.3% stake of 27.2 million shares and SLIC held 0.9% or 4.7 million shares. ETF also held 0.86% or 4.4 million shares.
Reuters report also said analysts said foreign buying could continue due to lower inflation after Government data showed annual inflation eased to 2.8% in June, its lowest since February 2012, down from 3.2% a month earlier.
The yields on Treasury bills edged down further at a weekly auction on Wednesday.
However, analysts had said Reuters investors are concerned over the recent ethnic violence and possible implications of a Government Spokesman saying Sri Lanka bought Iranian crude via third parties.
The market has been on a rising trend since late February due to continued foreign buying and lower interest rates, Reuters reported.