Right on top of the world

Saturday, 2 October 2010 00:42 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka becomes global best performing stock market

Sri Lanka’s stock market became the world’s top performer yesterday with a growth of 2.15% at the close of trading, outstripping Mongolia and Bangladesh to take its Asian ranking to global level.

Till Thursday it was Asia’s best performing stock market and the ASPI crossed 7,000, an increase of 3.8% this week to break records. Blue chip companies Dialog and John Keells Holdings made significant gains, with the former closing at Rs.13 – a change of Rs.0.90 – while the latter closed at Rs.358 – a gain of Rs.25.60.

Reuters reported that Sri Lanka’s benchmark share index rose on Friday to a new record high, but foreign investors sold to cash in profits, analysts said.

Sri Lanka’s main share index hit a new record close of 7,147.77 points with a 2.15 per cent gain. The index is Asia’s best performer in 2010 with a 111.1 per cent gain and has risen 23.7 per cent in September alone.

However, foreign investors sold a net of Rs. 1.6 billion ($ 13.9 million) in shares and have overall sold Rs. 16.6 billion worth this year. Analysts said high valuations may be the possible reason, although new foreign funds have been increasingly entering the bourse.

The recent surge has pushed the index into its overbought zone with the 14-day relative strength index at 92.4, over the upper neutral limit of 70, Thomson Reuters data showed.

It is trading at the highest forward price-to-earnings ratio in Asia and global emerging markets at 20.9 times, compared with 13.1 for all Asia and 12.1 for global emerging markets, Thomson Reuters StarMine data showed.

Market turnover was Rs. 6 billion ($ 53.8 million), more than 10 times the 2009 average, boosted by local buying. The rupee hit a new 21-month high of 111.80/85 from Thursday’s 111.95/111.97, a day after the Central Bank Governor said the country would relax exchange controls soon.

Currency dealers said exporters sold dollars.