Sri Lankan stocks close barely changed

COLOMBO, Nov 25, 2014 (EconomyNext) – Sri Lankan stocks rose steeply Tuesday, regaining some of the losses of the two previous days triggered by political uncertainty, but then slumped to close barely changed.

The All Share Price Index closed barely changed at 7,239.36, up just 4.11 or 0.06 percent while the S&P SL20 index, which tracks the top 20 largest and most liquid stocks on the Colombo Stock Exchange, was almost the same at 4,045.72.

Turnover just over a billion rupees against a 12-month average daily turnover of 1,328.9 million rupees, brokers Asia Securities said.

"Price gains on a few index heavyweights such as Nestle, CT Holdings, Hatton National Bank and Distilleries pushed the ASPI towards the positive territory."

A mix of institutional and high net worth buying was evident on stocks like John Keells Holdings, Hatton National Bank, Commercial Bank and Asia Asset Finance while a mix of
retail and high net worth buying was seen on Access Engineering, People’s Leasing and Finance, and Lanka IOC, they said.

There was a net foreign inflow of 5.2 million rupees. The market is up 22 percent so far this year.

Stocks slumped on Friday and Monday on panic selling by investors unnerved by a sudden split in the ruling party ahead of a snap presidential poll set for January 8, 2015.

Last Friday Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena quit to announce he would challenge President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the common opposition candidate, a day after Rajapaksa announced a snap presidential poll.

Several other government politicians, including Cabinet ministers, said they will back Sirisena as did the main opposition United National Party and other smaller parties.

The defections exposed deep divisions in the ruling party of Rajapaksa, who till then had seemed unassailable.





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