Sri Lanka stocks down 0.2-pct, rupee stronger

Mar 11, 2014 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s stocks close 0.22 percent lower Tuesday with index heavy John Keells Holdings losing ground and the rupee was allowed to appreciate slightly by authorities, brokers and dealers said. The Colombo benchmark All Share Price Index closed 13.04 points lower at 5,944.57 down 0.22 percent. The S&P SL20 closed 12.17 points lower at 3,240.12, down 0.37 percent.

Turnover was 804.56 million rupees, up from 304.30 million rupees a day earlier with 42 stocks close positive against 122 negative.

Foreign investors bought 201.59 million rupees worth shares while selling 132.35 million rupees of shares.

In forex markets the rupee was allowed to appreciate 05 cents by authorities to 130.50/55 to the US dollar in the spot market Tuesday.

State banks which usually act for the Central Bank was on the buying side, preventing a sharper appreciation of the currency. In late trading the rupee was quoted around 130.53/60 to the US dollar amid higher import demand dealers said.

The Central Bank also bought most of the proceeds of a billion US dollar bond in January, preventing the appreciation of the currency.

The policy rate gap between Sri Lanka and its de facto anchor currency the US dollar is wide enough to easily keep the currency stable, analysts say, as long as exchange and monetary policies do not contradict each other.

Meanwhile in equity markets United Motors Lanka closed 1.90 rupees lower at 124.00 rupees with an off market transaction of 468.92 million rupees contributing to 58 percent of the turnover.

John Keell Holdings closed 2.00 rupees lower at 225.00 rupees contributing most to the index drop and attracting most number of trades during the day.

JKH’s W0022 warrants closed 1.70 rupees lower at 62.00 rupees and its W0023 warrants closed 2.40 rupees lower at 65.50 rupees.

Ceylon Cold Stores closed 8.90 rupees lower at 139.10 rupees and Bukit Darah closed 7.00 rupees lower at 538.00 rupees.

Lion Brewery Ceylon closed 14.00 rupees lower at 386.00 rupees.

Ceylon Tobacco Company closed 21.00 rupees higher at 1,141.00 rupees and Nestle Lanka closed 40.00 rupees higher at 2,040.00 rupees.

Lanka Orix Leasing Company closed 1.70 rupees higher at 76.90 rupees and HNB closed 90 cents higher at 154.00 rupees.

SLT closed 60 cents higher at 44.70 rupees and Dialog Axiata closed 10 cents lower at 9.00 rupees.