Sri Lanka stocks wake up with net foreign buying

February 28, 2019 (LBO) – The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) awakened from its slumber with trading crossing the Rs2bn mark (US$11mn) after many days of dull trading. Stocks finished the day slightly up with trading activity across the board.

Foreigners were significant net buyers with net foreign buying of Rs500mn on the day. Foreign buying of stocks has been a rare occurrence in 2019.

Stock indices in Sri Lanka have had a rough 2019 and are down close to 5% on the year. This year’s weakness comes on top of a tough 2018.

Market bellwether John Keells Holdings (JKH) accounted for almost half of the days turnover with close to US$5mn worth of shares transacted. The stock closed just under Rs160/share. JKH has been plagued with foreign institutional selling over the last several months.

Valuations of Sri Lankan stocks remain low with a market PE of less than 10, and price to book ratios approaching 1.