Rupee firmer; stocks edge up

Wednesday, 7 March 2012 00:04 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Sri Lanka’s rupee ended firmer on Tuesday as banks sold dollars amid concern the currency would depreciate further, while the stock market moved sideways as concerns over corporate profits loomed in thin trade.

The rupee closed 121.45/55 a dollar, firmer than Monday’s close of 121.95/122.05, in light trade, dealers said.

A Reuters monthly forex poll on Wednesday has forecast the rupee to fall as far as 128.50 by the end of August.

The rupee has fallen 5.9 per cent since 9 February, when the Central Bank stopped defending it. The stock market meanwhile edged up in low trade as many investors stayed away on concerns of slowing economic growth, rising interest rates and broadly flat December quarter profits.

The main share index edged up 0.24 per cent or 12.86 points to hit 5,477.67.

The day’s turnover was Rs. 441.4 million ($ 3.62 million) well below last year’s daily average of 2.3 billion. The day’s volume was 17.3 million. Last year’s daily average was a record 102.7 million.

Foreign investors bought shares worth Rs. 983,963, extending the offshore net foreign inflow to Rs. 2.73 billion so far this year, after a net outflow of 19.1 billion last year.

The Colombo Bourse is one of the worst performers this year among Asian markets, with a 9.82 per cent loss while the majority has had positive returns.

Stock and foreign exchange markets will be closed on Wednesday due to Poya holiday. Normal trading will resume on Thursday.