Sri Lankan shares hit over 1-week closing low; blue chips see selling

January, 14, 2018

Reuters - Sri Lankan shares fell for a fourth straight session on Friday to hit a more than one-week closing low on profit-booking in blue chip stocks.

The Colombo Stock Index ended 0.35 percent weaker at 6,473.62, its lowest close since Jan. 4.

Turnover stood at 968.3 million rupees ($6.29 million) on Friday, more than last year’s daily average of 915.3 million rupees.

Foreign investors net bought shares worth 77.4 million rupees on Friday, extending the net foreign inflow in this year to 2.33 billion rupees.

They had net bought 18.5 billion rupees worth equities in 2017 and 633.5 million rupees in 2016.

“Market is consolidating with some profit-taking in blue chip shares. Continued foreign buying is a positive sign,” said Hussain Gani, Deputy CEO at Softlogic Stockbrokers.

Shares in conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc ended 2.7 percent down, while biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc dropped 0.5 percent and Hatton National Bank Plc ended 0.8 percent weaker.

“Investors will wait and see how the local elections will be.”

Sri Lanka will hold a long-delayed local government election on Feb. 10.

The bourse hit a near two-month high on Monday as declining interest rates and expectations of higher economic growth boosted investor appetite for risky assets.

Treasury bill rates fell between March and December last year, mainly driven by foreign buying in treasury bonds, resulting in a decline in interest rates.

Sri Lanka’s economic growth in 2018 is forecast at 5-5.5 percent, against an anticipated four-year low of less than 4 percent last year, central bank governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said last week.

Sri Lanka’s stock, bond, and foreign exchange markets are closed on Monday for a holiday and normal trading will resume on Tuesday.