Sri Lankan stocks slump as ruling party splits

COLOMBO, Nov 21, 2014 (EconomyNext) – Panic selling dragged down Sri Lankan stock prices Friday amid uncertainty caused by the announcement of a snap presidential poll followed by the defection of senior ruling party members to the opposition, brokers said.

The All Share Price Index slumped 128.71 points (1.71 percent) to end at 7,401.62, while

S&P SL20 index, which tracks the top 20 largest and most liquid stocks on the Colombo Stock Exchange, lost 63.67 points (1.52 percent) to end at 4,127.26.

Turnover was 2.1 billion rupees.

The benchmark ASPI has been hovering at a three-and-a-half year high amid low interest rates and a flood of foreign funds into the bourse.

Friday’s sell-off came amid revelations of a split in the ruling coalition as Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena announced he would stand as the common opposition candidate challenging President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a day after Rajapaksa announced a snap presidential poll in January.

Several other government politicians, including Cabinet ministers, said they will back Sirisena in the poll set for January 8.

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