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Sri Lanka stocks down 0.2-pct, rupee edges up

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka stocks closed 0.20 percent lower on a dull day of trading, while the rupee gained slightly against the US dollar, dealers and stockbrokers said.

The rupee edged up against the US dollar to close at 153.87 rupees on foreign inflows into government bonds and equities, dealers said.

The rupee has depreciated 0.41 percent against the US dollar so far this year.

The Colombo All Share index closed 13.37 points lower at 6,527.14. The S&P 20 index of liquid stocks closed flat, down 1.43 points to 3,808.62.

Market turnover was 546.8 million rupees, down sharply by 68 percent from the previous day.

"It was a dull of trading," Kanishka Perera, Head of Research at Asia Securities.

Index-heavy John Keells (JKH, closing 163.90 rupees, down 1.10 rupees) weighed down the All Share index, along with Sri Lanka Telecom (closing 28.10 rupees, down 1.40 rupees) and Lanka IOC (closing 30 rupees, down 1.10 rupees).

"The market upturn of the last few days was led by foreign interest in JKH and banks," Perera says.
"As always happens with index-heavy JKH, interest tends to wane," he says.

The Colombo Stock Exchange is encouraging large state corporations like Bank of Ceylon and Sri Lanka Insurance to infuse liquidity into the market and break JKH’s monopoly on the index.

Negotiated trades, or crossings, accounted for 25 percent of turnover with three in JKH totaling 161.4 rupees and one in Dialog (unchanged at 13.50 rupees) at 82.5 rupees.





Foreign investors were net buyers at 205.5 million rupees, up from 32 million rupees the previous day.

Foreign buying topped in JKH at 271 million rupees, while foreign selling topped in Dialog at 85.3 million, according to Asia Securities.

Melstacorp (closing 61 rupees up 80 cents, Commercial Bank (closing 142 rupees, up one rupee) and Richard Pieris (closing 13.30, up 30 cents) contributed positively to the All Share index. (COLOMBO, January 09, 2018)

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