Thursday, 18 April 2019 05:47

Rupee edges higher; stocks rise for third session

Reuters: The Sri Lankan rupee closed a tad firmer on Wednesday helped by banks’ dollar sales, while stocks ended marginally higher for the third straight day in thin trade.

Many investors were on holiday in a three-day week due to two long weekends. Both Monday and Friday in this week are public holidays.

The currency ended at 174.55/65 to the dollar, higher than Tuesday’s close of 174.60/75. The markets were closed on Monday for a public holiday in lieu of the traditional New Year that fell on Sunday. Traders expect lower trade in both currency and stock markets in the three-day week. The island nation’s currency gained 0.26% last week, and 4.8% so far this year, as exporters converted dollars amid stabilising investor confidence after the country repaid a $1 billion sovereign bond in mid-January. Foreign investors sold a net Rs. 2 billion worth of government securities in the week ended 10 April, the second weekly fall in six weeks, the latest Central Bank data showed.

The Colombo Stock Exchange index ended 0.2% firmer at 5,603.35.

The benchmark stock index fell 0.6% last week, recording its first weekly fall in three. The index has declined 7.4% so far this year.

Turnover came in at Rs. 188.8 million ($1.08 million), less than a third of this year’s daily average of Rs. 599.1 million. Last year’s daily average came in at Rs. 834 million.

Foreign investors bought a net Rs. 46.4 million worth of shares on Wednesday, but the market has seen a year-to-date net foreign outflow to Rs. 6 billion worth of equities.

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