Sri Lanka stocks flat, rupee steady

Sept 30, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka stocks closed flat amid a broad sell-off of smaller capitalized stocks and the rupee was steady, brokers and dealers said. The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed 5.30 points lower on Monday to 5,803.32, down 0.09 percent after hitting an intraday high of 5,815.84.

The S&P SL20 closed 5.58 points higher at 3,215.88, up 0.17 percent.

Turnover was 750.85 million rupees, up from 409.14 million rupees on Friday.

Foreigners bought stocks worth 165.68 million rupees, up from 110 million rupees the previous day and sold 18.5 million rupees worth of shares, up from 38.10 million rupees shares.

Carson Cumberbatch closed up 13.80 rupees at 390.00 rupees, Aitken Spence closed up 2.50 rupees higher at 115.00 rupees and Nestle Lanka closed 15.30 rupees higher at 1,964.30 rupees.

Chevron Lubricants closed 5 rupees higher at 270.00 rupees and Union Assurance closed 6.10 rupees higher at 107.00 rupees.

Distilleries closed 4.00 rupees lower at 185.00 rupees and Sri Lanka Telecom closed 60 cents lower at 39.20 rupees.

DFCC Bank closed 3.30 rupees lower at 119.20 rupees and JKH closed 90 cents lower at 218.00 rupees.

Nations Trust Bank closed 40 cents higher at 60.50 rupees and featured in five crossings.

Troubled Touchwood, closing 30 cents higher at 5.10 rupees saw 36.4 million shares change hands and CIFL, closing 10 cents lower at 1.30 rupees, saw 5.9 million shares traded.

The US dollar was trading at 132.00 rupees in late trading in the spot market, unchanged from Friday’s close of 132.00/05. Dealers said there was some importer demand and bank buying interest although volumes were low.

The Central Bank called bids to sell-down 5.0 billion rupees of its domestic assets portfolio and withdraw excess rupees from money markets but rejected all bids.

If the auction had been successful and liquidity was withdrawn the central bank would have been able to build up about 37 million US dollars in foreign reserves (assets).

Liquidity withdrawn overnight or for short periods and released back to banks turn into loans and imports later, requiring sell downs of foreign reserves to prevent the rupee depreciating.