Stocks at 3-year high on retail buying

Wednesday, 27 August 2014 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Stocks edged up on Tuesday, hovering near three-year highs, led by retail buying in manufacturing and telecommunication shares, while the low interest rates boosted sentiment, brokers said. Analysts say an increase in speculative trading in fundamentally weak shares could dent the healthy growth the index has seen this year. The main stock index ended 0.42%, or 29.29 points firmer, at 7,013.32, its highest close since 18 August 2011. The index has gained 18.61% so far this year. “Big caps are slightly slow today the index is up on some illiquid shares and on retail activity,” said Dimantha Mathew, Manager, Research at First Capital Equities Ltd. The index plummeted more than 20% after it hit a record peak in February 2011 mainly due to speculative trading. Companies’ earnings were recovering and the Bourse had seen a 22% year on year net growth in earnings of 272 companies, First Capital Equities said in a note to investors. Richard Pieris and Co Plc, which led the overall gain in the index, rose 16.67% to Rs. 9.10, while Sri Lanka Telecom Plc rose 1.11% to Rs. 54.60. Shares in Commercial Leasing & Finance Plc rose 4.65% to Rs. 4.50. Tuesday’s turnover stood at Rs. 1.73 billion ($ 13.3 million), more than this year’s daily average of Rs. 1.2 billion. The Bourse saw a net foreign inflow of Rs. 480.1 million on Tuesday, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to Rs. 8 billion worth of shares.

 Rupee edges down on importer demand

Reuters: The rupee ended weaker on Tuesday as importer dollar demand outpaced inward remittances and exporter dollar sales, dealers said. The local currency is likely to remain steady for the rest of the year after positive comments by the Central Bank Chief last week, they added. Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said last week the banking regulator would intervene in the thinly-traded market whenever needed to keep the rupee stable. The rupee ended at 130.20/22 per dollar, weaker from Monday’s close of 130.18/20. “There was importer (dollar) demand but nobody traded above 130.20,” a currency dealer said. Dealers said one of the two State banks, through which the Central Bank usually intervenes to stem major declines in the currency, bought dollars at 130.19 and other dealers did not trade above 130.20, which was seen as the level which the Central Bank is comfortable with. Foreign investors bought a net Rs. 1.81 billion ($ 13.9 million) worth of Government securities in the week ended 20 August, official data showed. The People’s Bank of China on Monday said it would allow the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to invest in the country’s interbank bond market. The Central Bank in a statement said the agreement with the People’s Bank of China will enable the bank to further diversify its reserves management activities into Chinese renminbi-denominated assets.