Sri Lanka stocks down, rupee breaches 179 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan stocks closed weaker in thin trade Friday with both indices down, while rupee weakened sharply, breaching 179 rupees against the US dollar, market participants said.

The benchmark All Share Price Index of the Colombo stock exchange closed at 5,929.98 points, down 20.21 points or 0.3 percent while the more liquid S&P SL20 index ended at 3,103.34, down 11.17 points (0.4 percent).

Turnover was a low 581 million rupees.

The Sri Lanka rupee closed at 179.20/ 179.90 against the US dollar in the spot market, down from Wednesday’s close of 178.40/70. Markets were closed Thursday.

The slide came amidst a worsening constitutional crisis that is now having economic implications with Moody’s rating agency downgrading Sri Lanka.

The political crisis began in October when president Maithripala Sirisena ousted Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister replacing him with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

In the share market, Watawala Plantations was the second highest gainer of the day, closing at 21.10 rupees, up 1.90 rupees or almost 10 percent, with just 485 shares traded.

Brokers Asia Securities said crossings or off-the-floor negotiated deals accounted for 65 percent of the day’s turnover.

There was one crossing each in Hatton National Bank, John Keells Holdings and Sampath Bank.
Foreign investors were net sellers of 51.4 million rupees worth of shares, with net foreign buying mainly in HNB.

Estimated net foreign selling was mainly in JKH.
(COLOMBO, 23 November 2018)
 

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