Sri Lanka stocks up 0.83-pct, rupee ends at new low

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka stocks closed 0.83 percent higher Friday on buying interest in diversified holding companies like LOLC, John Keells and Aitken Spence, as the rupee ended at a new low against the US dollar and gilt yields edged higher, market participants said.

Colombo’s All Share index gained 0.83 percent, up 48.17 points to 5,883.77, and the S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks ended 1.16 percent higher, gaining 34.51 points to 3,013.17.

Market turnover was 351.06 million rupees as 107 stocks gained during the day compared to 28 that declined.

LOLC Holdings (up 4.70 rupees to 90 rupees), Distilleries (up 40 cents to 16.90 rupees), John Keells Holdings (up 1.30 rupees to 133.90 rupees) and Aitken Spence (up 3.80 rupees to 46.80 rupees) contributed to the benchmark index gain.

Crossings, or off-market negotiated trades, totalled 117 million rupees, accounting for 33.3 percent of market turnover.

There was one crossing each for 51.2 million rupees in John Keells Holdings and 24.8 million rupees in Dialog. Two crossings in HNB amounted to 41 million rupees.

Dialog closed unchanged at 11.90 rupees and HNB ended 2 rupees higher at 207 rupees.

Net foreign selling was 30.2 million rupees down from selling of 97.3 million rupees the previous day.

Foreign selling in HNB was 41.6 million rupees followed by 28 million rupees in John Keells Holdings, according to First Capital Research.

The Sri Lanka rupee ended at a new low of 170.35/55 rupees against the US dollar in the spot market Friday, weakening from 170.00/25 rupees a day earlier.

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The currency traded at an intraday low of 170.45 rupees to the US dollar on importer demand, market participants said.

The money market liquidity shortage deepened by 7.75 billion rupees to 13.58 billion rupees on Friday with the central bank injecting around 32.64 billion rupees through term and overnight repos and bank borrowings from its overnight window.

Emerging market currencies are falling against the US dollar but Sri Lanka’s rupee decline has more to do with contradictory central bank monetary and exchange rate policy.

Gilt yields edged higher in the secondary market.

A three-year bond maturing in 2021 ended at 10.75/85 percent, up from 10.70/80 percent the previous closed.

A five-year bond maturing in 2023 closed at 11/11.08 percent, edging higher from the previous closing of 10.92/11.00 percent. (COLOMBO, 05 October 2018)

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