Sri Lankan stocks edge up on volatile trade

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s stocks closed 0.03 percent higher on Union Assurance on Friday, while ending the month on a low, provisional data showed.

Colombo’s All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed 2.04 points up at 5,928.76 on Friday.

The market was volatile throughout the day, rising to a daily high of 5,939.51 within the first five minutes of trading, and falling to a low of 5,923.47 just past noon.

S&P SL20 Index of most liquid stocks closed today 0.21 percent or 5.90 points up at 2,839.56.

Market turnover was 527 million rupees, and 67 stocks gained while 58 fell.

The Union Assurance share traded 27.10 rupees up at 335.00 rupees a share contributing most to ASPI’s gain.

State-owned Sri Lanka Telecom gained 50 cents to 30.50 rupees a share and Commercial Leasing and Finance was up 10 cents to 3.40 rupees a share, also pushing the market up.

However, Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka weighed the market down, closing 50 cents lower at 17.50 rupees a share.

The diversified financials sector index closed 0.45 percent higher, while banks closed 0.15 percent lower.

The market was volatile throughout the week, falling over 1.6 percent on Monday and Tuesday on hotel stock over fears of the coronavirus hitting the tourism industry, and snapped back on Wednesday, following which the ASPI moved sideways.

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Quarterly earnings of index-heavy John Keells Holdings were also released this week, with profits down 50 percent on the group’s hotel segment which collected lower revenues due to the Easter Sunday bombings.

The ASPI ended 2.93 percent lower in January.

On January 8, the market fell 2.11 percent on retail investors who pushed the ASPI below the psychological 6,000 market.

The following day, the market saw the highest turnover in 11 years, when Malaysia’s Khazanah sold 10.8 percent of JKH stock to the Citi Global Markets Fund for 22.6 billion rupees.

In another high turnover trade, the German development bank DEG sold a 19 percent stake in Softlogic Life Insurance to Milford Ceylon for 2.6 billion rupees.

The market saw some recovery in the third week when the government announced corporate tax cuts for banks, alcohol and tobacco manufacturers, casinos and industries. (Colombo/Jan31/2020)

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