Sri Lanka stocks return to negative territory

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s stocks fell 1.32 percent on Wednesday, dragged down by Dialog Axiata and John Keells Holdings, provisional data showed.

The All Share Price Index (ASPI) at the Colombo Stock Exchange closed 74.95 points down at 5,592.92 and the S&P SL20 Index of more liquid stocks closed 1.62 percent or 43.42 points down at 2,631.99.

The ASPI reached a daily high of 5,666.07 in the begining of trading and fell for the rest of the day, falling past the 0.43 percent gain made on Thursday, and returning to the negative trend seen so far in 2020.

The market had fallen 6 percent in February, amid uncertainty over tax cuts, the minority government’s inability to expand its budget for the first 4 months of 2020 and fears over the spread of coronavirus.

On Friday, market turnover was 754.9 million rupees with 20 stocks gaining and 142 falling.

Stocks across other Asian markets retreated as fears of the coronavirus persisted, with Tokyo down 3.7 percent, Shanghai 3.7 percent, Hong Kong 2.4 percent and Mumbai 3.1 percent.

European stocks were trading down in early morning.

Index-heavy Dialog Axiata,a unit of Malaysia’s Axiata group closed 50 cents down at 11.80 rupees a share, contributing most to the ASPI’s fall.

Dialog on Friday announced the acquisition of a systems integration firm VSIS Enterprise Solutions, which has a 2.7 billion rupee annual turnover.

John Keells Holdings closed three rupees lower at 146.00 rupees a share and Ceylon Tobacco Company fell 13.00 rupees to 1,110.00 rupees a share, also pushing the ASPI down.

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There was a 123 million rupee negotiated trade (crossing) in Ceylon Tobacco Company at 1,110.00 rupees per share and the stock closed flat at 1,110 rupees.

The food, beverages and tobacco industry index, which was the most active, fell 1.3 percent.

Bank Industry group which was also active fell 1.2 percent. (Colombo/Feb 28/2020)

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