Sri Lanka stocks down 0.4-pct, rupee steady

Mar 03, 2014 (LBO) – Sri Lanka stocks slipped 0.4 percent Monday dragged down by index heavy John Keells Holdings and Dialog, while the rupee ended stronger against the greenback, dealers and brokers said. The benchmark Colombo All Share Index fell 26.3 points to 5,914.01 points and the S&P SL20 Index fell 9.77 points to 3,213.89 points down 0.3 percent.

Turnover was 259 million rupees.

In forex markets the rupee was at 130.65/70 levels to the US dollar with a state bank that usually acts for the Central Bank on the buying side preventing further appreciation, dealers said.

There had been strong remittance flows and not enough import bills being covered over the past few days, they said.

International markets were in turmoil after Russia invaded a province of Ukraine. Russian stocks and the rouble fell, prompting a 150 basis points rate hike to 7.0 percent.

In stock markets foreign investors bought 114 million rupees of shares and sold 107 million rupees worth.

John Keells Holdings fell 2.20 rupees to 218.50 rupees and Dialog Axiata fell 10 cents to 9.10 rupees, contributing most to the index drop.

Commercial Bank was flat at 115.00 rupees, DFCC Bank was flat at 143.00 rupees and NDB was down 20 cents at 179.40 rupees.

Distilleries Corporation closed at 203.80 rupees up 80 cents, Nestle closed at 2000.30 rupee down 9.70 rupees, and Cargills Ceylon was up 10 cents at 135.10 rupees and Aitken Spence was up 10 cents at 99.00 rupees.

Asiri Hospital Holdings fell 30 cents to 19.00 rupees.