ECONOMYNEXT - The Sri Lanka rupee closed steady against the US dollar after the central bank intervened to prevent the currency breaching 159-levels, while gilt yields edged higher and stocks gained 0.42 percent, dealers and brokers said.
The rupee closed unchanged from the previous day at 158.20/40 rupees against the US dollar in the spot market Wednesday after falling to a new low of 158.80 rupees earlier in the day on importer demand, dealers said.
State-names acting on behalf of the monetary authority sold US dollars to smaller banks to claw back the falling currency, dealers said.
Gilt yields closed higher in the secondary market for government bonds.
A five-year bond maturing in 2023 closed higher at 10.42/48 percent in two-way quotes, up from 10.35/40 percent the previous close.
A ten-year bond maturing in 2028 closed at 10.65/75 percent, up from 10.65/70 percent the previous day.
The Colombo All Share index gained 0.42 percent, up 27.15 points to 6,483.47, and the S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks gained 0.12 percent, up 4.39 points to 3,620.55.
Market turnover was 455.2 million rupees, up 40 percent from the previous day.
Foreign selling was 7.3 million rupees against the previous day's buying of 6.3 million rupees.
Foreign selling in Distilleries (unchanged at 21 rupees) was 21 million rupees, followed by 16 million rupees in Nestle Lanka (up 15 rupees to 1,740 rupees), according to First Capital Research.
Foreigners also sold 13 million rupees in John Keells Holdings (down 1 rupee to 159 rupees)
Ceylon Tobacco (gaining 33.80 rupees to 1,059.90 rupees), Softlogic Holdings (up 1 rupee to 24 rupees) and LOLC (up 2.10 rupees to 120 rupees) contributed to the benchmark index gain.
Off-market negotiated trades, or crossings, totalled 48.4 million rupees to 10.6 percent of market turnover.
There was a crossing each in Commercial Bank (26.8 million rupees) and Seylan Bank (21.6 million rupees).
Commercial Bank closed 50 cents higher at 134 rupees and Seylan Bank was unchanged at 85 rupees. (COLOMBO, 16 May 2018)