Sri Lanka stocks weaker, rupee steady

Dec 17, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka stocks closed 0.55 percent lower amidst lackluster trading Monday, while the rupee was steady against the greenback at 108.95/109.00 dealers said. The All Share Index fell 13.75 percent to close at 2,493.27 while the Milanka Index of liquid stocks ended the day at 3,253.5, 0.6 percent lower (down 19.52 points).

Some excitement was seen around Radiant Gems which was subject to speculative trading. The stocks close 15.00 rupees up at 46.00 with 313,000 shares being traded.

Chevron Lubricants said it was declaring a 3.50 rupee dividend.

HNB Assurance said it had received an insurer financial strength rating of A(lka) from Fitch Ratings and a long-term rating of A-(lka).

Dealers say financial markets are quiet ahead of the year end with most foreign fund managers already on holiday. Turnover was 137 million rupees.

Forex markets were also quiet with the rupee steady amid thin trading.

“Most of the exporters have converted to pay year end bonuses and salary advances so there is not much activity,” a dealer said.

In debt markets one year bills were quoted around 19.75/20.00 percent.

Overnight money was 14.00/14.50 level and the market excess liquidity was more than a billion rupees, dealers said.

Reserve money last Friday was 267.8 billion rupees and the market expects a seasonal drawdown to also increase this week.

A Treasury bill auction is due Tuesday.