Stocks down on reports SEC Chief under pressure

Tuesday, 14 August 2012 01:39 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: The stock market edged lower on Monday on media reports the Head of the Securities and Exchange Commission could be forced to step down, dealers said.

After the market closed Tilak Karunaratne, Chairman of the SEC, confirmed in comments to Reuters he was coming under “immense pressure to resign”.

The Colombo Stock Exchange’s main index fell 0.16%, or 7.77 points, to end at 4,846.45, its lowest since 18 July.

Stock brokers and dealers said the move, if true would dampen an already underperforming bourse which has fallen 20.2% so far this year.

“You just can’t change the SEC chairman as and when you wish,” said a stockbroker on condition of anonymity. “If that happens, investors will lose confidence further.”

In December the previous Head of the SEC resigned “to uphold her principles,” barely a month after her Deputy was removed amid broker complaints that tougher regulations were hurting stock market prices.

Monday’s turnover was Rs. 163.6 million ($ 1.24 million), well below this year’s daily average of Rs. 870 million.

Foreign investors bought a net Rs. 21.9 million worth of shares, extending the net foreign inflow this year to Rs. 26.19 billion.

The rupee was a tad weaker at 131.95/97 per dollar from Friday’s close of 131.90/95 on importer dollar demand, dealers said.