Sri Lanka stocks surge at opening after opposition polls win

(EconomyNext) – Sri Lankan stocks surged higher Friday in what analysts said was euphoria over the resounding win at presidential polls the day before by the opposition candidate who has pledged to restore rule of law and create a more stable climate for business.

The All Share Price Index rose 1.20 percent (88.51 points) to reach 7,586.11 less than an hour after opening while the S&P SL20 index, which tracks the top 20 largest and most liquid stocks on the Colombo Stock Exchange, climbed 1.73 percent (72.30 points) to reach 4,258.27.

Turnover was 1.2 billion rupees propped up by several crossings or negotiated off-market deals in heavyweights like Hayleys and Dialog Axiata.

Incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa conceded defeat early Friday morning even before the vote count was over as it became clear his main challenger, Maithripala Sirisena, a former health minister in his own party who defected to the opposition, had a clear lead.

The opposition has said they expect to form a new government in the next day or two.

"Almost all stocks are up," said Radhika Ratnayake, research manager at Lanka Securities stockbrokers. "Retail investors are very active."

There were several crossings including a million shares of Hayleys, a conglomerate, at 340 rupees a share which added 340 million rupees to turnover, and 10 million shares of Dialog 13.50 rupees each.

The Colombo bourse has been moving up for the last six trading days.

The main share that fell was Access Engineering on concern that it might not win as many new contracts in the island’s construction boom as under the previous administration.  

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