Stocks end flat; rupee strengthens

Tuesday, 22 October 2019 00:11 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Shares closed flat on Monday, as gains in consumer staples were offset by losses in telecommunications shares, while investors also waited for policy manifestos of key presidential candidates while the rupee ended firmer. 

The benchmark stock index closed 0.01% higher at 5,863.99. The index has fallen 3.11% so far this year. 

Meanwhile, the rupee ended 0.14% firmer at 181.70/80 per dollar compared with Friday’s close of 181.95/182.10. The currency is up 0.49% so far this year. 

Foreign investors bought riskier assets for the second time in 14 sessions as campaigning got underway for the country’s Presidential Election scheduled on 16 November. 

They purchased a net Rs. 216.2 million ($ 1.19 million) worth of shares on Monday, but they have been net sellers of Rs. 3.78 billion of equities so far this year, according to index data. 

The two presidential frontrunners, former wartime defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa and housing minister Sajith Premadasa, are yet to announce their policy framework. Analysts said investors are waiting to see policies on tax, subsidies, and private businesses. 

Equity market turnover was Rs. 1.17 billion ($ 6.44 million), well above this year’s daily average of about Rs. 664.9 million. Last year’s daily average was Rs. 834.0 million. 

Meanwhile, foreign investors sold government securities on a net basis for the eighth time in nine weeks, selling a net Rs. 724.9 million worth of government securities in the week ended 16 October. 

Total foreign outflows from government securities through 16 October stood at Rs. 55.6 billion, as per Central Bank data. 

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