Reuters: Sri Lanka’s stock market jumped over 1.6 per cent to an over one-month high on Tuesday as strong Central Bank growth forecasts and boosted investor sentiment ahead of a long new year holiday.
Sri Lanka’s Central Bank on Monday forecast economic growth of 9.0 per cent for 2012 and said the country had brought down the budget deficit to 7.9 per cent of the gross domestic product in 2010, less than an estimated 8.0 per cent.
The island’s main share index gained 1.62 per cent or 120.64 points firmer at 7,574.86, the highest since 7 March. It hit a record closing high of 7,811.82 on 14 February.
The index gain was mainly helped by large cap oil palm firm Bukit Darah, which added 4.2 per cent and over 1.4 billion to the day’s turnover.
The day’s turnover at Rs. 4.5 billion ($ 40.9 million), well over last year’s average of Rs. 2.4 billion and more than this year’s daily average is Rs. 3.1 billion.
Foreign investors were net sellers on Tuesday for the first time in the last nine sessions, selling Rs. 139.4 million in shares after being net buyers for Rs. 1.23 billion in the previous eight sessions. They have sold a net 6.7 billion in 2011, and a record 26.4 billion in 2010.
The bourse is still Asia’s best performer in 2011 with a 14.2 per cent gain, after bringing in the region’s top return, 96 per cent, last year.
Traded volume was 39.2 million, against a five-day average of 27.1 million shares. The 30-day and 90-day average trading volumes were 46 million and 66.8 million, respectively. Last year’s daily average volume was 67.9 million.
The rupee closed weaker at 110.38/40 a dollar from Monday’s close of 110.38/40 as the Central Bank increased the dollar trading band by 10 cents to 109.70/110.40 amid heavy importer dollar demand ahead of the festivals, dealers said.
Both the stock and money markets will be closed for traditional New Year holidays from Wednesday. Normal trading will resume on Monday.