ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka stocks closed 0.52 percent higher Friday on domestic buying in John Keells Holdings, and foreign activity in Commercial Bank and HNB, while the rupee fell slightly against the US dollar, dealers and brokers said.
The rupee fell slightly against the greenback, closing at 153.93/154.00 against the US dollar on small volumes of profit taking in the bond market, dealers said.
The rupee has depreciated 0.44 percent against the US dollar so far this year.
The Colombo All Share index closed 33.39 points higher at 6,443.50. The S&P SL20 index of more liquid stock closed 0.7 percent higher, up 25.85 points to 3,735.48.
"Domestic buying in index-heavy John Keells was the main reasons for the market to move up," says Shiyam Subaulla, Senior Vice President at Asia Securities.
John Keells closed four rupees higher at 164 rupees.
Market turnover was 1.7 billion rupees, up 33.5 percent from the previous day.
The benchmark index was propped up by JKH, Hemas Holdings (up 5.90 rupees to 122.90 rupees, Sri Lanka Telecom (up 70 cents to 28.30 rupees) and BRAC Lanka Finance (up 4.20 rupees to 29 rupees).
Net foreign selling amounted to 62 million rupees, down 78 percent from 279.5 million of net selling the previous day, despite foreign buying nearly doubling to 833 million rupees.
There was foreign buying of 609 million rupees worth of HNB (down 10 cents to 252.80 rupees) and selling amounting to 659 million rupees in Commercial Bank, closing 60 cents lower at 136.70 rupees, according to Asia Securities.
Off-market negotiated trades amounted to Rs1.36 billion, accounting for 80 percent of market turnover.
Commercial Bank accounted for seven of the 12 crossings at 616.4 million rupees, HNB had three crossings worth 608 million rupees and there was a crossing each in Ceylon Tobacco (85 million rupees) and Cargills (48 million rupees).
Ceylon Tobacco closed 80 cents lower at 1,029.20and Cargills closed unchanged at 195 rupees.(COLOMBO, January 19, 2018)