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Sri Lanka stocks up 0.6-pct, despite foreign selling

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka stocks closed 0.60 percent higher Thursday with turnover picking up with bottom fishers picking up stocks but banks retreated amid foreign selling and new controls on dividends, brokers said.

Colombo’s All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed 0.60 percent or 26.29 points higher at 4,393.54.

The index followed a highly volatile upward trend coming to an intra-day high of 4,426.98  just before noon, before closing lower, brokers said.

The S&P SL20 index of more liquid stocks however, fell 1.28 percent or 22.13 points to close at 1,707.02.

Market turnover was 3.68 billion rupees with 98 stocks gaining and 53 falling.

Foreign selling was 2.8 billion with around 2.7 billion rupees in Commercial Bank alone along with 71.9 million rupees in Distilleries Company and 34 million in CTC.

Commercial Bank ended the day down 5.30 rupees at 55.10. HNB closed at 94.00 rupees, down 80 cents, and Sampath closed at 103.30 down 20 cents.

Sri Lanka’s central bank has banned banks from paying dividends in an unprecedented move, dimming sentiments on banks further, brokers said.

Foreign purchases only amounted to 18.5 million rupees.

Retail activity in the market was high with 9,553 trades.

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Two crossing in Lion Brewery and Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka amounted to 2.67 million rupees and 25 million rupees.

In today’s trading the highest number of trades were seen in Commercial Bank, John Keells Holdings and Sampath Bank with 2,041, 1,009 and 899 trades respectively.

Brokers said there was high retail activity with 9,553 trades done today.

Meanwhile, mid-tier stocks saw a 5 percent gain high retail activity in Access Engineering and Tokyo Cement.

Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka boosted the index, climbing 1.10 rupees up to 13.40 rupees a share.

Dialog Axiata stock went up by 40 cents to close at 8.40 rupees a share while Ceylon Cold Stores was up 27.50 rupees to 630.10 rupees a share, also contributing the ASPI’s gain.

(Colombo/May14/2020)

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