The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) concluded 2019, which was marked by political and economic uncertainty, on a mixed note yesterday with the benchmark index gaining ground for the year but with foreigners as net sellers.
The All Share Price Index (ASPI) gained 1.27 percent in 2019 to close at 6, 129.1 yesterday. ASPI opened the year at 6, 052.37 and reached 6, 215.23 as its highest point and 5, 199.98 as the lowest point for the year.
The more liquid S&P SL20 however closed 2019 on a negative note, as the index lost 6.32 percent for the year to close at 2, 936.96 after opening at 3, 135.18
for the year.
Meanwhile, foreigners closed the year as net sellers with net foreign outflow of Rs.11.72 billion. The average turnover for the year was Rs.711 million.
The market recovery began during the mid part of the year with the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) entering the market after a hiatus of six years, purchasing nearly Rs.500 million worth of Dialog Axiata shares.
However, since then EPF hasn’t been much active in the market, according to brokers.
The continuation of the International Monetary Fund’s Extended Fund Facility programme, the Central Bank’s push for lower interest rates and the presidential election that concluded in November also gave further boost to market recovery.
The sweeping tax cuts announced by the new government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa augured well with the market sentiment.
However, for the Colombo bourse to really make ripples this year, several big initial public offerings and increased participation of government-run funds in market activities remain crucial.
Also, positive regulatory side developments are another key aspect for the bourse to do well in the New Year. However, the market watchdog, Securities and Exchange Commission so far remains headless without a new Chairman.
Meanwhile, yesterday’s market activities were dominated by the banks, finance & insurance sector, which was the highest contributor for the day’s revenue with Rs.540 million.
LOLC Holdings closed Rs.1.50 down at Rs.177.50 ending the gains made during the latter part of last week and Monday on the news of the sale of its stake in a Cambodian microfinance firm for US $ 603 million. The buyer has been identified as South Korean lender, Kookmin Bank.
Despite stock exchange disclosures made by the KB Financial Group, the parents of Kookmin Bank to the Korea Exchange (KRX), LOLC has been less revealing.
However, Mirror Business learns that a detailed statement is likely to follow when the deal is announced in the early part of next week.
Meanwhile, crossings accounted for 16.5 percent of yesterday’s turnover with one crossing recorded at Hatton National Bank PLC and another at Softlogic Holdings PLC.
The market capitalization as of yesterday was Rs.2.85 trillion, up 0.42 percent year-to-date. CSE has 289 listed entities, that include one fund.
New CSE mobile app launched
An updated version of the official mobile application launched by the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is now available for download for Android and IOS users.
The updated app features a modern interface and aims to offer users greater access to information on the stock market and scope for personalization.
With the new app, users will have access to customized notifications, analytical tools, educational content, historical movements of indicates and stocks for up to a year and a feature for investors to manage their CDS account upon investing.
The app is available in Sinhala, English and Tamil languages and presents live data during trading hours, limiting the need for users to access multiple information sources.
Commenting on the new app, the Head of Market Development at CSE Niroshan Wijesundere said, “The updated version of the application presents content for both existing investors and beginners looking to familiarize themselves with stock market investment.
We have focused on presenting information on the overall market and on individual stocks in a convenient manner that will help investors make more informed decisions.
“The mobile app also features content that would otherwise have to be purchased via other digital platforms, which is in-line with our objective of encouraging investors to trade on the go, from wherever they are. We strongly believe that the updated version of the app will develop into one of the primary sources of insights for present and new investors.” The app can be downloaded on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.