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Sri Lanka stocks fall to 8-year low amid Coronavirus fears, weak sentiment

Colombo Stock Exchange Board

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka stocks plunged 4.14 percent Tuesday with the benchmark all share index falling to an eight year low in one of the biggest one day falls on record amid continued foreign selling and weak domestic sentiment, while global market were also in turmoil, brokers said.

A global epidemic of Coronavirus had hit global trade, with Sri Lanka’s exporters, importers and construction firms also expected to take a hit as supply chains are disrupted.

Oil prices have also fallen, which is generally expected to be good for consumers and energy using companies.

But Sri Lanka’s stocks have taken a beating in recent months with foreign investors steadily cutting positions they have held for years in blue chip companies.

“There is selling pressure but not enough buying interest,” a broker said.

Colombo stocks are down 16 percent over 2020 and 8.4 percent from February.

Domestic investor sentiment was also weak, with some panic selling seen, brokers said, though shares were at bargain prices.

Colombo Stock Exchange was halted for 30-minutes after the S and P 20 Index of liquid shares fell 5-percent at soon after opening.

All Share Price Index finished the day at 5,121.91 points, hitting the lowest since August 29, 2012, when it was at 5,114.15 points.

The S&P SL20 Index of most liquid stocks closed down 4.75 percent or 117.86 points to end at 2,361.75.





The March 10 fall was only a little lower than October 12, 2012 when the Colombo All Share Index, fell 300.59 points or 4.39 percent.

Sri Lanka’s economy has been hit by two currency crises in rapid succession and it was emerging from the 2018 crisis when value added taxes were cut steeply in January, spooking rating agencies.

Market turnover over was 1.34 billion rupees. Lion Brewery drove volumes with 952,649 shares changed hands at 565.00 rupees a share contributing 538 million rupees to turnover.

The index was dragged down with Ceylon Cold Stores stocks falling 103.30 rupees down at 672.60 rupees while John Keells Holdings fell 7.10 rupees to close at 133.00 rupees.

Ceylon Tobacco Company another index heavy stock closed at 1,020.00 rupees a down 28.50 rupees. (Colombo/Mar10/2020)

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