Sri Lanka stock trading halted, index falls below 5000

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Colombo Stock Exchange halted trading for 30 minutes Friday, the third time in a week as an index of liquid stocks dropped below 5 percent, broker said as bourse followed many regional and global markets down on Coronavirus fears.

The Standard and Poor’s SL 20 Index fell 5.04 percent or 115.6 points to 2,178 points when trading was halted around 1000 am.

The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index fell 2.98 percent to 4,870 points dropping below the psychological 5,000 points.

Global markets have taken a battering as air travel was restricted and many areas in Europe was locked down even as China was limping back to life.

Sri Lanka has also tightened restrictions after two cases of domestic transmission of the Coronavirus.

Sri Lanka is halting the entry of travelers from Italy, Korea and Iran for two weeks and has also closed schools as a precautionary measure.

Customers rushed to buy extra goods from supermarkets Thursday.

Many of Sri Lanka’s stocks are trading at decade lows but sentiment is weak, brokers said.

Hotels and export firms have been hurt by the Coronavirus epidemic. Stocks edged lower after trading resumed.

Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings fell 16 percent to 15 rupees, in the first hour of trading Friday.

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John Keells Holdings fell 7.30 rupees to 124.00.

Dipped Products fell 4.40 rupees to 60.60 rupees and Commercial Bank fell 4.0 rupees to 71.00 rupees in the first hour of trading.

Global oil prices have also fallen sharply, which is expected to help Sri Lanka with higher state revenues as the authorities remain cautious about cutting prices (Colombo/Mar13/2020)

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