Sri Lankan shares end flat; Dunamis Capital nearly doubles in heavy trade

September, 14, 2018

Reuters - Sri Lankan shares closed flat near a two-week closing low on Thursday in heavy trading led by Dunamis Capital Plc which nearly doubled in value, even as foreign investors continued to trim their equity exposure for a second straight day.

The Colombo stock index edged 0.03 percent higher to 6,060.68, settling near its lowest close since August 29. It had risen 0.6 percent last week in its third straight weekly gain.

Shares of investment company Dunamis Capital, up 90 percent, accounted for 85 percent of the day’s turnover of 1.69 billion rupees ($10.38 million), more than double this year’s daily average of 800 million rupees.

The company, in a disclosure to the bourse said insurance firm Janashckthi Plc purchased a 31.14 percent stake or 38.3 million shares in it at 36.60 rupees apiece.

“Investors are waiting for some kind of trigger. If the government can maintain policy consistency, we will be able to see positive sentiment,” said Prashan Fernando, CEO at Acuity Stockbrokers, adding that the day’s turnover got a boost from heavy activity in Dunamis Capital.

Investors have been raising concerns over consistency in the government’s policy after it changed some budget policies announced last year.

Analysts said foreign investors, who sold a net 41.9 million rupees worth of shares on Thursday, have been a worried lot after Nomura Holdings on Monday ranked Sri Lanka among seven emerging market economies that were at risk of an exchange rate crisis.

“The increase in fuel prices also weighed on the market,” traders said.

Sri Lankan fuel retailers raised gasoline and diesel prices for a third time in four months on Tuesday due to higher global oil prices and a weaker rupee.

Meanwhile, investors are also awaiting cues from the national budget which the government is set to unveil in November.

Shares of top mobile phone operator Dialog Axiata rose 1.6 percent while Asiri Hospital Holdings gained 2.2 percent.