ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s stocks closed 1.10 percent up on Wednesday, reaching the highest levels since early March, boosted by banking stocks, brokers said.
Colombo’s All Share Price Index closed 62.50 points up at 5,745, after reaching an intra-day high of 5,760.35 in the final half hour of trading.
The more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed 2.32 percent or 63.73 points up at 2,813.28.
The market is now at a four and a half month high, rising past 5,722 recorded on March 08, having fully recovered the losses of the Easter Sunday bombings.
Political plays are underway, with President Maithripala Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the opposition Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna today attempting to strike an alliance ahead of the Presidential polls at the end of the year.
Market turnover on Wednesday was 1.1 billion rupees, with one negotiated deal (crossing) worth 175 million rupees in Melstacorp.
The country’s three largest privately-held banks contributed to the ASPI gain.
Sampath Bank closed 7.10 rupees up at 160.90 rupees a share while Commercial Bank ended trading 2.50 rupees up at 103.90 rupees a share,and Hatton National Bank closed 5.30 rupees up at 150.20 rupees a share.
The largest listed firm, John Keells Holdings closed 1.80 rupees up at 151.80 rupees a share, also pushing the ASPI up.
The banking sector index gained 1.9 percent on Wednesday on a third of the day’s turnover.
The earnings season for the June quarter started on Monday, and Union Bank was one of the first to release its financials on Tuesday, showing a growth in profit.
However, non-performing loans have risen in the banking sector in the June quarter to 4.8 percent of total loans, from 4.2 percent three months earlier, the central bank has said. (Colombo/Jul24/2019)