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Sri Lanka stocks close 0.3-pct lower; Seylan drama draws interest

ECONMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s stocks close down 0.3 percent with beverage, bank and property stocks dragging down the markets, amid thin trade, brokers said, amid a government move to cancel a 1.3 billion rupee trade.

Ceylon Tobacco fell 10 rupees to 850 rupees, Cold Stores fell 14.40 rupees to 765, and Commercial Bank fell 1.40 rupees to 143.60 contributing most to the index fall.

CTC had said sales are weaker after steep tax hike.

Overseas Realty fell 1.10 rupees to 20.00 and Property Development fell 13.80 rupees to 71.10.

Kelani Valley Plantations, which has rubber farms, plunged 11.20 rupees to 48.70 with 4,000 shares traded.

Seylan Bank ordinary shares rose 4.70 to close at 89.70 rupees, attracting speculative interest, after a 7.5 percent stake held by Bank of Ceylon was sold at 100 rupees last week to a foreign investor in a deal which has since run into controversy.

Senior ministers have said the current administration will cancel the deal, saying the state-run bank had not gained ministerial approval and proper board approval may also be missing.

The sale went at 15 rupees above market price.

The shares were purchased through JB Securities, a firm which is well regarded in the market.

Market watchers are keenly awaiting the outcome.





If a genuine investor bought the shares, a trade reversal will not be a good signal to foreign investors, analysts say. (Colombo/Dec19/2016)

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