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Saturday March 2nd, 2024

Sri Lanka stocks fall, selling in LOLC, banks

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s stocks fell 0.72 percent on Tuesday, extending a two-day retreat with selling in banking and finance stock, provisional data showed.

The main All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed 43.84 points down at 6,026.09.

The ASPI fell throughout the day to reach a daily-low of 6,022.35 in the last half hour of trading, before recovering four points.

Meanwhile, S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks fell 1.05 percent or 30.45 points to 2,863.34.

The market turnover was 1.44 billion rupees while 19 stocks gained and 131 fell.

The banking and finance stock index closed 1 percent lower.

The central bank on Monday called on banks to change their lending practices to boost growth through small and medium-sized businesses, and said it will set up a task force to introduce cost reflective benchmark interest rate to price loans.

LOLC Holdings closed 4.10 rupees down at 164.90 rupees a share, contributing most to the ASPI fall.

There was heavy retail selling on LOLC Holdings after buying during market open, despite the firm last evening confirming its sale of the Cambodian microfinance arm PRASAC to Korea’s Kookmin Bank for 603 million US dollars.

LOLC’s share has been falling since December 30, when it peaked at 179 rupees, after rising from 113 rupees before the deal was announced in early-December.

Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka ended 40 cents down at 17.50 rupees a share, also contributing to the ASPI fall.

There was a 904 million rupee negotiated trade (crossing) in Sampath Bank at 159 rupees a share, and the stock closed at 155.20 rupees a share, 4.40 rupees down from open.

The telco Dialog Axiata contributed 24.32 million rupees in a negotiated trade at 12.80 rupees a share, and closed 10 cents down at 12.80 rupees a share. (Colombo/Jan07/2020)

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Sri Lanka eyes SOE law by May 2024 for better governance

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is planning to pass a Public Commercial Business (PCB) Act improve governance of state-owned enterprise by May 2024 as part of an anti-corruption efforts following an International Monetary Fund assessment.

Sri Lanka’s state enterprises have been used by politicians to give ‘jobs of the boys’, appropriate vehicles for personal use, fill board of directors and key positions with henchmen and relatives, according to critics.

Meanwhile macro-economists working for the state also used them to give off-budget subsides or made energy utilities in particular borrow through supplier’s credits and state banks after forex shortages are triggered through inflationary rate cuts.

The government has taken billons of dollars of loans given to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation from state banks.

There have also been high profile procurement scandals connected to SOEs.

An SOE Reform Policy was approved by Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers in May 2023.

The Public Commercial Business (PCB) Act has now been drafted.

A holding company to own the SOEs will be incorporated and an Advisory Committee and Board of Directors will be appointed after the PCB law is approved, the statement said. (Colombo/Mar01/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes at 308.80/90 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 308.80/90 to the US dollar Friday, from 309.50/70 on Thursday, dealers said.

Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 01.02.2026 closed at 10.65/75 percent up from 10.50/70 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.90/12.05 percent from 11.90/12.10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 12.15/35 percent down from 12.20/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.25/40 percent up from 12.30/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 12.30/45 percent down from 12.35/50 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 12.50/13.00 percent from 12.55/13.00 percent. (Colombo/Mar1/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.37-pct, Expo to de-list

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up 0.37 percent on Friday, and SG Holdings, the parent company of Expolanka Holdings Plc, said it was taking the company private.

Expolanka is the largest listed company on the Colombo Stock Exchange.

“Expolanka Holdings PLC has, at the Board Meeting held on 1st March 2024, considered a request from its principal shareholder and resolved to initiate the de-listing of the Company’s shares from the Official List of the Colombo Stock Exchange subject to obtaining necessary shareholder approval and regulatory approvals,” the company said in a stock exchange filing.

As per arrangements with SG Holdings Global Pte Ltd, the Company’s majority shareholder, it will purchase its shares from shareholders who may wish to divest their shareholding in the Company at a purchase price of Rs 185.00 per share. The share closed up at 150.50.

The broader All Share Index closed up 0.37 percent, or 39.47 points, at 10,691; while the S&P SL20 Index closed down 0.64 percent, or 19.59 points, at 3,037.

Turnover stayed above the 1 billion mark for the sixth consecutive day, registering 1.4 billion.

Crossings in Melstarcorp Plc (135mn) up at 89.50, Hatton National Bank Plc (64mn) up at 158.00, Hemas Holdings Plc (53mn) up at 75.00 and Central Finance Company Plc (26mn) up at 103.50, added significantly to the day’s turnover.

“The upward trend is continuing, with more retail buying also coming in, the number of trades was more than 10,000 today,” a market participant said. “Investors are looking for undervalued stocks and buying in quantities.” (Colombo/Mar1/2024).

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