Shares slip from 10-month closing high; rupee ends firmer

Tuesday, 5 November 2019 00:18 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Shares ended weaker yesterday, slipping from their highest in 10 months hit in the previous session, as investors sold diversified shares two weeks ahead of Presidential Polls.

Housing Minister and one of the two presidential front-runners Sajith Premadasa last week announced his election manifesto, which is seen by analysts as a “broader policy framework”. His close rival Gotabaya Rajapaksa has pledged a tax overhaul that would reduce tax rate to 8% from the current 15% and abolish many taxes.  Many political analysts that Reuters spoke to have said the tight race between the two presidential candidate was still on.

The benchmark stock index ended 0.36% weaker at 6,010.18, slipping from its highest close since 4 January hit on Friday. 

The index rose 1.6% for last week in its fourth weekly gain, but is down 0.70% for the year.

Diversified stocks were among the top losers, with conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC falling 2%, while Cargills (Ceylon) PLC ended 3.7% down, LOLC Holdings PLC down 0.5% and Distillers Company of Sri Lanka PLC 0.56% weaker.

The rupee ended 0.39% firmer at 180.40/60 per dollar, compared with Friday’s close of 181.10/25. The currency is up 1.22% so far this year.

Foreign investors were net buyers of riskier assets for the first time in nine sessions yesterday.

They bought a net Rs. 112.2 million ($ 621,778.89) worth of shares yesterday, but they have been net sellers of Rs. 4.33 billion worth of equities so far this year, according to index data.

Equity market turnover was Rs. 709.6 million, more than this year’s daily average of about Rs. 673.3 million. Last year’s daily average was Rs. 834 million.

Meanwhile, foreign investors bought government securities on a net basis for the second time in four weeks, buying a net Rs. 1.55 billion worth of government securities in the week ended 30 October.

Total foreign outflows from government securities through 30 October stood at Rs. 52.08 billion, according to Central Bank data.

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank left its key rates unchanged on 11 October after loosening policy earlier this year, although growth is likely to remain subdued as the economy faces rising global risks.