CSE edges up as investors buy blue-chip stocks

Friday, 3 August 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Shares ended marginally firmer on Thursday, pulling away from their lowest close in three weeks hit on Monday, as investors picked up battered blue-chip shares, brokers said.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.11% firmer at 6,136.35. The index started the week by marking its lowest close since 12 July and is down 3.7% so far this year.

Brokers said trading was dull as investors were awaiting central bank monitory policy announcement on Friday.

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank is expected to keep key interest rates steady at its policy review on Friday as it looks to spur faltering economic growth amid heavy downward pressure on the nation’s currency, a Reuters poll showed.

Turnover stood at Rs. 349.2 million ($ 2.19 million), less than half of this year’s daily average of Rs. 849 million.

“Market is up mainly on buying in Keells,” said Hussain Gani, deputy CEO at Softlogic Stockbrokers.

“The market will remain at these levels as sentiment has not changed yet and investors are waiting to see some positive news.”

Foreign selling and a downward revision in economic growth estimate earlier this month by the Central Bank has hurt the sentiment, analysts said.

Foreign investors sold equities net worth Rs. 16.6 million on Thursday, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to Rs. 2.7 billion worth of equities.

Economic growth in 2018 is likely to be between 4% and 4.5%, falling short of an earlier estimate of 5%, Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said earlier this month.

Shares of conglomerate John Keells Holding Plc ended 1.8% higher while those of Sri Lanka Telecom Plc gained 2.5%.