“Most investors are not too concerned about the budget, specially if its full of giveaways to support the Prime Minister with little details on where the money for it is coming from,” says Chinthaka Ranasinghe, Head of Research John Keells Stockbrokers.
Premier Mahinda Rajapakse, 59, has promised to create 100,000 public sector jobs for unemployed graduates and offer a plethora of subsidies ranging from fertilizer to fuel.
Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, 56, has a better track record of economic management besides sigining the crucial ceasefire agreement with Tamil Tiger rebels during his tenure from 2002-4.
Market punters were betting on the North and East vote to help Wickremesinghe’s campaign, but the Tamil Tiger rebels have thought otherwise. Postal voting opened on Monday but only ten percent of those living in the North East have been successful in voting.
“The tension in the North and East helped drag market sentiment down today. Budget itself is a non starter because the policies will change depending on who wins the race next Thursday,” notes Hasitha Premaratne, Head of Research at HNB Stockbrokers.
Day’s main trades came from Asia Capital, Sri Lanka Telecom, Hatton National Bank.