ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s stocks closed 0.20 percent lower on Friday with the benchmark index being dargged down by selling in Trans Asia Hotel, Dialog Axiata John Keells Holdings (JKH)
Colombo’s All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed 10.69 points lower at 5,295.11 and the S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks closed 0.10 percent or 2.53 points down at 2,464.35.
The market turnover was 283.5 million rupees with 45 stocks gaining and 72 declining.
Trans Asia Hotels closed 5.70 rupees down at 66.30 rupees a share, Dialog Axiata fell 0.10 cents to 9.20 rupees a share and Hatton National Bank closed 2.00 rupees down at 140.00 rupees a share, contributing to the ASPI decline.
JKH contributed to two thirds of the daily turnover, closing 50 cents lower at 138 rupees a share. One million JKH shares crossed hands at 138 rupees a share, dragging down the share price.
The market was speculating that the country’s largest fund, the Employees’ Provident Fund, had bought JKH shares.
The ASPI had rallied for five days up to Thursday, after the news hit the market that the EPF had re-entered, following a hiatus.
The EPF had largely stayed off the market, except for some sporadic sales, after coming under fire for being a ‘buyer of last resort’ around 2011 in particular at peak valuations amid charges of corruption by dealers.
Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy confirmed the EPF’s intentions, saying that one stock was purchased last week, and the fund has approval to invest in a very small list of companies.
There was speculation that the EPF had bought 55 million shares in Dialog at 9 rupees a share in its re-entry to the stock market.
(COLOMBO, 24 May 2019)