The resignation of Tilak Karunaratne as the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been accepted whilst a successor will be named next week, Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera said.
The confirmation by the Treasury Secretary ends week-long uncertainty whether the SEC Chief’s quit notice would be accepted or not, even though Karunaratne himself said he was firm about his decision to resign.
Daily FT learns top professional Dr. Nalaka Godahewa is tipped to be appointed as the new SEC Chief. However official sources declined to comment.
Apart from Karunaratne, appointed member Sanjay S. Kulatunga has resigned as per the SEC’s website. Other members of the commission are Registrar of Companies D.K. Hettiarachchi (Ex-Officio), Lolitha Abeysinghe (appointed member from private sector), Mohamed Zuraish Hifaz Hashim (appointed member from private sector), B.D.W.A. Silva (appointed member from Central Bank), Chartered Accounts Sri Lanka President Sujeewa Rajapaksha (Ex-Officio), Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa (appointed member from private sector) and Deputy Secretary to the Treasury Sajith R. Attygalle (Ex-Officio).
Meanwhile, profit taking and foreign selling impacted the market yesterday. The benchmark ASI closed lower by 0.5% whilst turnover was only Rs. 265.7 million.
The market saw the first foreign outflow in 25 days with offshore investors selling a net Rs. 63.66 million. Foreigners have been net buyers of Rs. 28.3 billion so far this year.
“Market took a breather after a strong run with reduced activity across the board, dragging the indices to negative territory,” NDB Stockbrokers said.
Softlogic Stockbrokers said the heavy index, John Keells Holdings, which defined most of the foreign interest over the past few market days, saw its share price slip 2.01% to Rs. 195.20.
“The premier conglomerate having a dominant position in the CSE’s market capitalisation explained the dip in the indices as the ASPI dipped 25 points but retrieving above the 5,000 mark at 5,012.84 points,” the broker said. The S&P SL20 shed 18.96 points and the MPI dipped by 56 points.
Softlogic said Central Finance, one of the most recently watched counters, witnessed profit taking after climbing 7.7% WoW on Thursday. The counter shed 1.6% at its close of Rs. 136.90 adding onto the MPI decline.
Active participation was visible in Distilleries Company, trading at a trailing PER of 5.7X and at book value, making the counter gain 1.1% for the day at its end of Rs. 119.60. Interest in Commercial Bank was led by two on-board deals counting 175,000 shares at Rs. 103.20.
CIC Holdings went onto touch its 52-week low of Rs. 67.80 during trading, provoking many investors to ponder buying in. Colombo Dockyard saw some renewed play whilst Hatton National Bank (Voting and Non-Voting) and Sampath Bank highlighted the banking counter play. Finance companies; Vallibel One and Singer Finance saw some active play with Ceylinco Insurance racing up by a notable 5.4% for the day at Rs. 7.90.
Retail seeking counters Free Lanka Capital Holdings closed flat at Rs. 2.20 while Regnis Lanka slipped 0.9%. Hydro Power Free Lanka went on to book a gain of 6.45% at its close of Rs. 6.60.
The rupee ended slightly firmer at 132.25/30 against the dollar from 132.28/35 the previous day in dull trade, as banks sold dollars.