Only three days of trading –owing to the Sinhala and Hindu New Year holidays - and a turnover of just Rs. 490 million, far lower than that of last year about the same period. The consolation for many is that the All Share Index (ASI) managed to scrape just over the 5400 mark to end at 5418 on Wednesday.
Most brokers and fund managers say that the market sentiment was dull and they decided to avoid the uncomfortable climate and move out of Colombo.
Reports indicate 100% occupancy in the hotels in the hills of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya, which, translated into figures, may mean a dividend in some cases!
Many in the industry are paranaoid about the present state of the market despite the various workshops held throughout the country and the many roadshows abroad. Some brokers say that it is very difficult to enlist new investors, so they are making a concerted effort to encourage the existing clients who are now dormant for many reasons like the loss due to forced selling last year and the trap of the IPOs.
Trading for the three days was quiet as depicted by the turnover, with the major transactions being that of Asia Asset Finance, Citrus Leisure Swarnamahal Financial Services and Panasian Power. Access Engineering ended at Rs 24.10, while Citrus Leisure was marginally up to Rs. 29.50.
The latter, a group that is stamping its name in the hotels sector, has run into the difficult patch with its subsidiary Passikudah Beach Resorts Ltd owing to a dispute over its land with a case filed in District Court of Valachchenai by one claimant. Shares in the group suffered a minor dip in the prices but recovered later.
However in a positive move the group through another subsidiary Waskaduwa Beach Resorts Ltd entered into an agreement with the BOI for an investment of US$23,770,000 for the setting up of a 150-roomed, 4-star hotel in Waskaduwa, Kalutara. The share closed at Rs.9.10
Kotagala Plantations has adventured into Cambodia where it has got approval to plant 20,000 hectares of rubber, the value of this venture being $70 million. Rubber prices have cooled off but if the global economy takes off rubber prices will escalate.
Changes in directorates: Hemas Holdings – D. Bhatnagar resigned as a director and was replaced by R. Gopalakrishnan; Ceylon Tobacco - Vijaya Malalasekera, a long-standing director, retired from the Board of Directors on April 3; Richard Pieris Exports - Renton De Alwis resigned from the Board on March 31.
The ASI was virtually unchanged at 5418.95 while the Milanka was just 7 points or 0.01% higher at 4906.86.