Sri Lanka markets steady ahead of crucial vote

ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka rupee and gilts opened steady ahead of a crucial vote in parliament amidst a deepening constitutional crisis, market participants said, while stocks gained marginally on buying interest in John Keells Holdings and Aitken Spence.

Sri Lanka’s parliament is due to meet at 1.30 am after a brawl and attacks on the speaker by legislators loyal to disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa led to a suspension of sittings following the moving of a non-confidence motion against him.

President Sirisena had met party leaders opposing Rajapaksa and asked for a vote with a name count and a motion that does not contain reference to gazettes issued by him.

The Sri Lanka opened steady, quoted wide at 176.20/70 rupees against the US dollar in the spot market Friday before narrowing to 176.50/65 rupees by mid-morning.

The currency ended the previous day at 176.50/70 rupees against the greenback.

Gilt yields opened steady as well with a bond maturing in 2027 quoted at 12.30/38 percent, wider from the previous closing of 12.33/38 percent.

Sentiment is dull in the secondary market, dealers said.

In equities, Colombo’s All Share index gained a marginal 0.05 percent within the first half hour of trading, up 2.87 points to 5,970.21, and the S&P SL20 index of more liquid stocks was 0.12 percen higher, up 3.70 points to 3,109.27.

LOLC Finance was up 20 cents to 3.80 rupees and John Keells Holdings gained 30 cents to 152.60 rupees.

Colombo Dockyard was trading 5.40 rupees higher at 58 rupees and Aitken Spence was up 1.60 rupees to 46.90 rupees. (COLOMBO 16, November 2018)

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