Reuters: Shares ended little changed on Monday, hovering near a two-week low hit last week, as investors waited for direction from upcoming corporate results and the National Budget next month, brokers said.
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera will present the 2018 Budget on 9 November.
The Colombo stock index finished 0.03% weaker at 6,570.56, hovering near its lowest close since 10 October hit on Thursday. The index fell 0.9% last week, its first weekly fall in six.
“Block deals pushed the turnover, while the index is stagnant with low retail participation,” said Atchuthan Srirangan, Senior Research Analyst at First Capital Holdings PLC.
Gains led by beverages and telecom shares were offset by losses in banking stocks, the data showed.
Shares of biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc ended 0.9% lower, while Sampath Bank Plc, which accounted for 51% of the day’s turnover on a block deal, closed down 0.9%. Ceylon Cold Stores Plc climbed 1% higher, while Sri Lanka Telecom rose 0.3%.
Turnover stood at Rs. 1 billion ($6.51 million), less than this year’s daily average of Rs. 938.4 million.
Foreign investors were net buyers of shares worth Rs. 17 million on Monday, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to Rs. 19.2 billion worth of shares.
Rupee ends weaker on importer dollar demand
Reuters: The rupee ended weaker on Monday, as demand for the US dollar by importers surpassed mild exporter selling of the greenback, dealers said.
The rupee came under pressure early this month due to dollar demand from state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corp (CPC), which stocked up crude oil ahead of an expected fuel price hike, dealers said, adding they expected the currency to weaken on generally higher import demand ahead of the National Budget.
The spot rupee closed at 153.75/80 per dollar, weaker from Friday’s close of 153.60/70.
“The demand was there; it was the general importer (dollar) demand,” said a currency dealer, requesting anonymity. “We expect the rupee to weaken a bit and the exporters are holding on.”
The rupee currency has weakened 2.7% so far this year. Crude prices are expected to rise after private fuel retailer Lanka IOC said it was likely to hike rates as it has been selling fuels at a loss, local media reported late last month.
The rupee has been under pressure since January after the Central Bank stopped defending the currency and started buying the dollar to build the country’s depleted foreign reserves.
The island nation has seen Rs. 19.2 billion ($125 million) of net inflows into equities this year as of Monday’s close, and Rs. 38.2 billion into Government securities as of 18 October, official data showed.