Sri Lanka rupee weakens; stocks rally slows

ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka rupee weakened sharply to end Tuesday at around 174.50/80 rupees against the US dollar in the spot market while the equities rally of the last two slowed though stocks closed 0.34 percent higher, market participants said.

The currency traded at an intraday low of 174.75 rupees against the greenback, market participants said, as the country is locked in political crisis.

The rupee closed Monday at around 173.80/174.00 rupees against the greenback.

Sri Lanka stocks ended 0.34 percent higher on Tuesday, but weakened from intra-day highs at close.

Colombo’s All Share index closed 20.14 points higher at 5,964.32, slipping from an intraday high of 6,000.19 earlier in the day.

The benchmark index had gained 1.1 percent on Friday and surged 1.9 percent Monday – the highest gain in four years – and rose 0.94 percent in early trading Tuesday before losing momentum.

The S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks ended at 3,083.20 points, up a sharp 0.80 percent, or 24.61 points.

Market turnover was 981.4 million rupees, with 95 stocks gaining while 67 declined.

John Keells Holdings made the largest contribution to the benchmark index gain. The stock ended 6 rupees higher at 147.90 rupees.

Construction stocks were the most traded stocks.

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Access Engineering saw over 2 million shares change hands and closed unchanged at 15.80 rupees, while a little more than 6.5 million Tokyo Cement shares were traded. The stock gained 40 cents to 25.10 rupees.

Net foreign selling was 155.3 million rupees, down from 3.06 billion the previous day.

Foreign selling in Tokyo Cement was 149 million rupees, according to Asia Securities.

Crossings, or off-market negotiated trades, amounted to 210.4 million rupees, accounting for 21.4 percent of the day’s turnover.

There were two crossings in Tokyo Cement for 64.6 million rupees, two in John Keells Holdings for 50.2 million rupees and one each in Commercial Bank for 50.2 million and Hatton National Bank for 45.4 million rupees.

Commercial Bank closed unchanged at 114 rupees and Hatton National Bank gained 1.40 rupees to 211.40 rupees.

Gilt yields edged lower in the secondary market.

A three-year bond maturing in 2021 closed at 10.90/11.20 percent in two-way quotes, down from Monday’s closing of 11.20/30 rupees.

A five-year bond maturing in 2023 ended at 11.32/40 percent, from the previous day’s 11.40/60 percent closing. (COLOMBO, 30 October 2018)

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