Friday, February 17, 2012

Bourse surges strongly

* Big question is whether gains will be sustained

The Colombo bourse yesterday surged strongly with a 259.29 points (5.08%) gain on the All Share Index being among the steepest single day gains in memory, brokers said.

The Milanka too was up 179.22 points (4.10%) on a turnover of Rs.1.16 billon, down from the previous day’s Rs.1.2 billion, with 223 gainers leaving six losers trailing dismally behind.

"Overall sentiment improved considerably with the market supported by institutions like the EPF," a broker said. "With the marketing gaining strongly and portfolio positions improving margin calls too were near zero."

Aitken Spence was the day’s biggest business generator with a crossing of nearly a million shares at Rs.114 with the counter closing flat at that price on a trading range of Rs.113 to Rs.114.50 generating a business volume of Rs.118.8 million.

HNB followed gaining Rs.3.50 to close at Rs.145 on nearly 0.7 million shares done between Rs.142 and Rs.145. The trades included a crossing of 645,200 shares at Rs.142.

Swarnamahal where there was considerable retail play closed Rs.11.30 up at Rs.172.10 on nearly 0.4 million shares done between Rs.160.70 and Rs.172.40 while ERI was up Rs.3.60 to close at Rs.19.40 on slightly over 3.2 million shares done between Rs.15.90 and Rs.19.70.

"Both these counters saw retail and high net worth play," a broker said. "It was the same with HVA which was up Rs.3.40 to close at Rs.21.60 on nearly 2.4 million shares done between Rs.18.10 and Rs.21.60."

Commercial Bank was another banking stock which saw volume and a marginal 10 cents price gain to close at Rs.101 on nearly 0.4 million shares done between Rs.99.50 and Rs.101 while Seylan Bank gained Rs.7.50 to close at Rs.65.80 on nearly 0.5 million shares done between Rs.56.50 and Rs.65.80.

Brokers said that interest in banking stock was evident during trading yesterday and hoped that the gains seen during the day would be sustained.

Commercial Bank announced the dates for its forthcoming cash and scrip dividends which will follow the March 30 AGM with the final dividend of Rs.1.50 per share, XD from April 2 and payment on April 11.

The scrip dividend will also require shareholder approval at the AGM and will trade XD from April 2. 56.33 voting shares held will qualify for one new voting share and 47.22 non-voting shares for one new non-voting share under the scrip dividend announced on February 9.

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