Stock market gains to highest in nearly 20 weeks; rupee falls

Thursday, 25 July 2019 01:59 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Sri Lankan shares jumped more than 1% on Wednesday to hit their highest close in nearly 20 weeks, led by gains in banking and diversified stocks, while the rupee weakened on higher importer dollar demand. 

The country's benchmark stock index ended 1.1% up at 5,745.97 its highest close since 7 March.  The index is down about 5.06% so far this year. 

The country's stock market had a turnover of Rs. 1.1 billion ($ 6.25 million), well above this year's daily average of about Rs. 610.1 million so far. Last year's daily average came in at Rs. 834 million. 

Foreign investors bought a net Rs. 362,201 worth of shares, extending year-to-date net buying to Rs. 1.47 billion worth of equities so far this year, index data showed. 

Shares of Sri Lanka Telecom PLC jumped 3.9%, Sampath Bank PLC rose 4.6%, conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC climbed 1.2%, and the country's biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon ended 2.5% firmer. 

The currency ended 0.06% weaker at 176.10/25 per dollar, compared with Tuesday's close of 176.00/10, as importer demand for the greenback outpaced the dollar selling by banks. 

The rupee is up 3.69% so far this year. 

Foreign investors bought a net Rs. 1.22 billion worth of government securities in the week ended 17 July, but the market has seen a year-to-date net foreign outflow of Rs. 18.46 billion, the Central Bank data showed.