ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka stocks closed 0.09 percent lower on Monday, retreating for the fifth day amid political uncertainty and weaker bank earnings expected, analysts and brokers said.
Colombo’s All Share Price index (ASPI) closed 5.03 points lower at 5,889.67, after gaining to a high of 5,913.02 in the first hour of trading.
The S&P SL20 Index of more liquid stocks closed 0.21 percent or 5.96 points down at 2,900.72.
The ruling United National Party, which had been planning to name a presidential candidate on August 05 had delayed the announcement till the end of the month after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe ran into opposition on a constitution for a broad alliance.
The opposition Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna may name a candidate on August 11, while President Maithripala Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party has opted to wait till September to announce its pick.
Stocks gained steeply over the past week, with sentiment changing and thin liquidity in some stocks driving up prices. But weaker earnings are expected from banks.
Further, only 40 of 290 companies has released their June quarter financial results, which is also a reason for the market to show a dull sentiment, brokers said.
Sri Lanka was hit by the Easter Sunday bombings in the June quarter.
Market turnover was 534 million rupees on Monday, which is the lowest in two weeks, with 67 stocks rising and 63 stocks falling.
Two crossings in index-heavy John Keells Holdings totalled 73 million rupees.
Turnover in Tokyo Cement non-voting shares amounted to 70 million rupees, contributing most to the day’s turnover along with John Keells Holdings.
Ceylon Cold Stores closed 54.60 rupees down at 700.40 rupees a share, contributing most to the ASPI fall.
Sampath Bank closed 3.40 rupees down at 163.40 rupees a share and Hemas Holdings closed 1.70 rupees down at 73.30 rupees a share, also pushing the ASPI down.
(COLOMBO, 05 Aug, 2019)