ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka stocks closed 0.17 percent lower on Tuesday amidst foreign selling in Commercial Bank, while the rupee weakened marginally against the US dollar and gilt yields ended lower after the Central Bank kept policy rates unchanged, market participants said.
Colombo's All Share index fell 0.17 percent, down 9.80 points to 5,807.74, and the S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks closed 0.24 percent lower, down 7.03 points to 2,963.03.
Market turnover was 395.2 million rupees on this trades with 57 stocks declining during the day against 46 that gained, brokers said.
Asiri Hospital Holdings (down 1.40 rupees to 22.10 rupees), Sri Lanka Telecom (down 50 cents to 19 rupees) and Central Finance (down 3.50 rupees to 90 rupees) contributed to the benchmark index decline.
Commercial Leasing and Finance was down 10 cents to 2.40 rupees and Hemas Holdings closed 1 rupee lower at 84 rupees.
Net foreign selling was 133.7 million rupees, up from selling of 46.1 million rupees.
Foreign selling in Commercial Bank was 112 million rupees, followed by 13 million rupees in Hemas Holdings, according to Asia Securities.
There were two crossings in Commercial Bank totalling 133.2 million rupees, accounting for 34 percent of market turnover.
Commercial Bank was down 50 cents to 112 rupees.
The Sri Lanka rupee closed marginally weaker at a wide spot market quote of 169.20/50 rupees against the US dollar. The rupee closed the previous day at 169.00/20 rupees against the US dollar.
On Tuesday, the currency traded at an intraday low of 169.35 rupees to the greenback, market participants said.
The Central Bank bought 4 million US dollars in the forex market to stabilize the rupee. Net interventions amounted to 184 million US dollars so far this year, Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said on Tuesday.
The central bank injected 61.25 billion rupees on Tuesday sterilise a market liquidity shortage.
The injections now total 184.25 billion rupees since the rupee collapsed twice in 2018 after the central bank tried to operate a 'flexible exchange rate' after injecting and maintaining unsterilized excess liquidity of tens of billions of rupees through domestic or foreign asset purchases.
Overnight market liquidity was short by 37.67 billion rupees on Tuesday.
Gilt yields in the secondary market after the Central Bank announced it would keep policy rate unchanged.
A three-year bond maturing in 2021 closed at 10.73/82 percent in two-way quotes, down from the previous day's close of 10.90/11.05 percent.
A five-year bond maturing in 2023 ended at 10.92/11.00 percent, down from the previous closing of 11.15/25 percent. (COLOMBO, 02 October 2018)