Sri Lanka rupee ends weaker, stocks gain marginally
ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka rupee closed weaker at 175.70/80 rupees against the US dollar on Monday while stocks ended marginally higher on buying interest in John Keells Holdings, market participants said.
The currency traded at an intraday low of 175.90 rupees against the greenback in the spot market.
The rupee closed last Friday at around 175.10/25 rupees against the US dollar.
Gilt yields edged higher amidst thin volumes and were quoted at wide margins ahead of Tuesday’s bond auction for 98 billion rupees, dealers said.
A three-year bond maturing in 2021 closed at 11.30/55 percent in two-way quotes, up from the previous day’s closing of 11.20/45 percent.
A five-year bond maturing in 2023 edged higher to 11.55/85 percent, up from 11.50/65 percent the previous close.
Colombo’s All Share index closed 0.04 percent higher, up 2.31 points to 5,980.94, while the S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks gained 0.38 percent, up 11.77 points to 3,105.98.
Market turnover was 424.8 million rupees with 80 stocks gaining during the day against 39 that declined.
John Keells Holdings (up 6 rupees to 151 rupees), Ceylon Tobacco (up 8.50 rupees to 1,425 rupees) and Brown and Company (up 4.40 rupees to 57.40 rupees) contributed to the benchmark index gain.
John Keells Holdings said it would return 11.1 billion rupees to shareholders by buying back nearly 70 million shares at 160 rupees each.
Net foreign buying was 81 million rupees, against selling of 660.8 million rupees the previous day.
Foreign buying in Hatton National Bank was 78 million rupees. The stock closed 2.40 rupees lower at 210 rupees.
Crossings, or off-market negotiated trades, amounted to 125 million rupees and was 29.4 percent of market turnover.
There were two crossings in Hatton National Bank for 83 million rupees and one in John Keells Holdings for 42 million rupees. (COLOMBO, 12 November 2018)