Sri Lanka stocks gain 0.35-pct, rupee strengthens

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka stocks gained 0.35 percent Wednesday on thin volumes with foreign buying in Sampath Bank, JKH and Ceylon Tobacco, and the rupee appreciated against the US dollar, brokers and dealers said.

The rupee gained 0.29 percent in the spot market to close at 153.65/75 against the greenback, with banks selling US dollars in the forward market, dealers said.

The rupee traded 154.10/20 rupees against the US dollar on Tuesday.

The Colombo All Share index gained 22.72 points to close at 6,440.77. The S&P SL20 index of more liquid stocks closed 0.50 percent higher, up 18.58 points to 3,745.24.

"It was a relatively dull day with thin volumes," said Dihan Dedigama, Chief Executive at Softlogic Stockbrokers.

The benchmark index was buoyed by Ceylon Tobacco (up 45.50 rupees to 1,076.70 rupees), Sampath Bank (up 7.50 rupees to 324.50 rupees), BRAC Lanka Finance (up five rupees to 34 rupees) and Lion Brewery (up 12.20 rupees to 557.30 rupees).

Market turnover was 453.2 million rupees, down 69.7 percent from the previous day.

"Foreign activity dominated market activity with buying interest particularly in Sampath Bank and Ceylon Tobacco," he said.

Net foreign buying was 29.4 million rupees, down from 226 million rupees the previous day.

Net foreign buying in Sampath Bank was 18.6 million rupees, 14 million rupees in JKH, the share closing 30 cents higher at 165.60 rupees, and Ceylon Tobacco 11 million rupees, Asia Securities said.

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Off-market negotiated trades, or crossings, totalled 255.4 million rupees, amounting to 56.4 percent of market turnover.

There was a crossing each in Cargills at 228.4 million rupees, the share closing unchanged at 196 rupees, and Tokyo Cement at 27.2 million rupees, closing 40 cents lower at 68 rupees. (COLOMBO, January 24, 2018).
 

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