Sri Lanka stocks slide on bank sell-off

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s stocks fell 1.07 percent on Friday amid a sell-off in banking stocks after a steep fall in Sampath Bank, amid thin turnover, brokers said.

The Colombo All Share Price Index fell 61.98 points to close at 5,754.31 points while the S&P 20 index of more liquid stocks plunged 3.72 percent to (110 points), to close at 2,868.04 percent.

Sampath Bank plunged 36.2 rupees (15.6 percent) to close at 195.70 rupees, after falling as low as 186 rupees in intra-day trade, after opening at 231.90 rupees.

The fall came after a cash call of 12 billion rupees on shareholders. Sampath said it planned to sell 7 new shares for 23 existing shares (after a scrip dividend), at 136 rupees per share.

Sri Lanka’s banks have been hit by bad loans amid two incidents of monetary instability that came in quick succession after the Central Bank tried to target inflation and the exchange rate at the same time.

Sri Lanka has suffered severe monetary instability and balance of payments troubles since the soft-pegged central bank was set up in 1951.

Other banks stocks also fell on Friday. Commercial Bank fell 2.40 rupees to close at 102.00 rupees, HNB fell 4.0 rupees to close at 190.00, Pan Asia fell 30 cents to close at 14.00 rupees, NDB fell 4.60 rupees to close at 106.30 rupees, and DFCC fell 40 cents to close at 76.10 rupees.

Central Finance closed flat at 90 rupees.

JKH another index heavy stock fell 4.50 rupees to close at 155.00 but Melstacorp rose 80 cents to close at 44.80 rupees. (Colombo/Mar02/2019-SB)





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