Sri Lanka rupee ends firmer, stocks up 0.10-pct

ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka rupee strengthened against the US dollar in the spot market, and stocks closed 0.10 percent higher on buying interest in banking and diversified stocks as bond yields ended steady, market participants said.

The currency ended at around 178.60/75 rupees against the US dollar, firming from an intraday low of 178.90 rupees, market participants said.

The rupee closed Friday at 178.90/179.10 against the greenback.

Sri Lanka’s Court of Appeal on Monday issued an interim order restraining Mahinda Rajapaksa from functioning as prime minister. It also blocked his cabinet.

President Maithripala Sirisena controversially sacked Ranil Wickremesinghe and his government in October, replacing him with Rajapaksa, plunging the island into an unprecedented constitutional crisis.

Wickremesinghe has refused to yield and Rajapaksa too is refusing to budge after two no-confidence votes were since passed in parliament.

In equities, Colombo’s All Share index gained 0.10 percent to close 5.87 points higher at 6,025.20 and the S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks ended a sharp 0.71 percent higher, up 22.57 points to 3,201.08.

Market turnover was 445.9 million rupees with 70 stocks gaining and 65 declining.

Commercial Bank (up 1.70 rupees to 119.30 rupees), Sunshine Holdings (up 7.50 rupees to 53.80 rupees) and Ceylon Tobacco (up 5.10 rupees to 1,415 rupees) contributed to the benchmark index gain.

Dialog gained 10 cents to close at 11.40 rupees and Softlogic Holdings was up 60 cents to 20.80 rupees.





John Keells Holdings gained 30 cents to 160.80 rupees.

Net foreign selling was 13.9 million rupees, down from 415 million rupees on Friday.

Foreign selling in Access Engineering was 24 million rupees, according to First Capital Research. The stock was unchanged at 16 rupees.

There was one off-market negotiated trade, or crossing, each in Hatton National Bank for 94.7 million rupees and Sampath Bank for 24 million rupees.

Hatton National Bank ended 1.30 rupees higher at 216.40 rupees and Sampath Bank gained 1.90 rupees to 239.40 rupees.

Bond yields were somewhat steady in the secondary market.

A three-year bond maturing in 2021 ended at 11.65/85 percent, a broad margin compared to Friday’s closing of 11.70/80 percent.

A five-year bond maturing in 2023 closed at 11.85/95 percent, up from the previous day’s closing of 11.80/90 percent.

A bond maturing in 2027 ended at 12.15/25 percent down from 12.20/28 percent the previous day. (COLOMBO, 3 December 2018)


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