Sri Lanka stocks plunge as retreat extends to fourth day amid earnings season

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s stocks retreated for the fourth consecutive day, plunging 1.52 percent on Wednesday on Ceylon Beverage Holdings, Dialog Axiata and LOLC holdings amid listed firms releasing their December quarter financials, provisional data showed.

The All Share Price Index (ASPI) at the Colombo Stock Exchange closed 87.31 points down at 5,643.62 and the S&P SL20 Index of more liquid stocks closed 2.21 percent or 60.42 points down at 2,670.97.

The ASPI marginally gained to a daily high of 5,732.23 in the first hour of trading and fell for the rest of the day.

The market has now fallen 3.5 percent over the past four days.

Asian markets have fallen this week on fears of the start of a coronavirus global epidemic, as World Health Organization officials said many countries are ill-prepared to deal with the virus.

AFP reported Tokyo and Shanghai stocks closing 0.8 percent down on Wednesday, having shed more than three percent Tuesday, while Hong Kong lost 0.7 percent.

Sri Lanka’s market turnover was 360.9 million rupees on Wednesday, with 20 stocks gaining and 142 falling.

Foreign investors were moderately active, with net buying of 16.5 million rupees.

Index-heavy Ceylon Beverage Holdings, a brewery, closed 130.20 rupees down at 725.00 rupees a share, contributing most to the ASPI’s fall.

Dialog Axiata, a telco last traded 30 cents down at 12.20 rupees a share and financial conglomerate LOLC Holdings 4.70 rupees down at 131.70 rupees a share, also pushing the ASPI down.

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There was a 21.2 million rupee negotiated trade (crossing) in Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) at 1,120.00 rupees per share and the stock last traded 8.00 rupees down at 1,112.00 rupees per share.

CTC stock has fallen 3 percent over the last three days ahead of the release of the firm’s financial statements. CTC on Wednesday reported a 19 percent fall in profits amid tobacco price hikes.

Tobacco and alcohol prices face annual revisions due to government taxation.

The food, beverages and tobacco industry index, which was the most active, fell 1.5 percent.(Colombo/Feb 26/2020)

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