Reuters: Sri Lanka’s stock market ended weaker on Friday with volume and turnover slumping to the lowest in almost a month, as investors awaited the first moves by the new head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The island nation’s main share index closed 0.51 per cent or 30.75 points down at 5,996.44.
Analysts said investors were awaiting the direction after the appointment of Tilak Karunaratne, an industrialist and former Parliamentarian, as the new Chief of the SEC a week after the former Chairperson quit to “uphold her principles”.
The bourse suffered a net foreign outflow of Rs. 126.5 million on Friday, extending net foreign selling to 527.6 million for the week and 924.7 million in the last seven sessions.
Foreign investors have sold 18.3 billion thus far in 2011, and a record 26.4 billion in 2010.
The day’s turnover was Rs. 464 million ($ 4.07million), lowest since 11 November and well below last year’s average of 2.4 billion and this year’s 2.4 billion.
Total volume was 19.2 million shares, against a five-day average of 26.2 million. The 30-day and 90-day average trading volumes were 55.3 million and 98.2 million. Last year’s daily average was 67.9 million.
On a net basis, foreign investors sold 59,640 shares in John Keells Holdings PLC, which ended 0.58 per cent weaker at Rs. 172.60.
The bourse has fallen 11.6 per cent since 1 October after the introduction of a law that allowed the Government to expropriate state assets leased to private companies, the exits of top SEC officials and a three per cent rupee devaluation.
It is Asia’s 12th-best performer with a year-to-date loss of 9.64 per cent after being at the top until June. It gave Asia’s best returns in 2009 and 2010.
The rupee closed flat at 113.89/90 rupees a dollar for a 13th straight day as the Central Bank defended it by selling $ 20 million, dealers said.
The bank has so far sold around $ 280 million since the three per cent devaluation on 22 November.